Phytoremediation: Using Green Plants To Clean Up Contaminated Soil, Groundwater, And Wastewater

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ABSTRACT Phytoremediation, an emerging cleanup technology for contaminated soils, groundwater, and wastewater that is both low-tech and low-cost, is defined as the engineered use of green plants (including grasses, forbs, and woody species) to remove, contain, or render harmless such environmental contaminants as heavy metals, trace elements, organic compounds, and radioactive compounds in soil or water. A greenhouse experiment on zinc uptake in hybrid poplar (Populus sp.) was initiated in 1995. These experiments are being conducted to confirm and extend field data from Applied Natural Sciences, Inc. (our CRADA partner), indicating high levels of zinc (4,200 g/g [ppm]) in leaves of hybrid poplar growing as a cleanup system at a site with zinc contamination in the root zone of some of the trees. Analyses of soil water from lysimeter pots that had received several doses of zinc indicated that the zinc was totally sequestered by the plants in about 4 hours during a single pass through the root sys...

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Available from: Cristina Negri, Mar 11, 2013