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

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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
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    • "Many scientists have focused on accumulation of heavy metals by aquatic macrophytes (Ye et al., 1997; Mays and Edwards, 2001; G ¨ othberg et al., 2002; Manios et al., 2003; Demirezen and Aksoy, 2004; Kamal et al., 2004; Espinoza-Quinones et al., 2005; Saygideger and Dogan, 2005; Fritioff and Greger, 2006; Skinner et al., 2007; Licina et al., 2007). In addition, some have also studied the phytoremediation of aquatic macrophytes for contaminated sediment and water environments (Hinchman et al., 1998; Osmolovskaya and Kurilenko, 2001; Panich-Pat et al., 2004; Gratao et al., 2005; Audet and Charest, 2007). Among aquatic macrophytes, Typha latifolia L. is a common wetland plant that grows widely in tropic and warm regions (Ye et al., 1997). "

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    • "To date, numerous scientists have focused on trace elements accumulation in macrophytes (e.g., Ye et al., 1997; Manios et al., 2003; Kamal et al., 2004; Fritioff and Greger, 2006; Mazej and Germ, 2009). In addition, several scholars have also studied macrophytes for phytoremediation of contaminated sediment and water (Hinchman et al., 1998; Gratao et al., 2005; Audet and Charest, 2007). Plants play an important role in wetland geochemistry through their active/ passive transport of elements. "
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    ABSTRACT: Toxic levels of trace elements in the environment have been reported worldwide over the last few decades, and their increasing concentrations are of the utmost concern because of the adverse effects on human life and ecosystems. Several plant species are able to accumulate trace elements, and may be used for monitoring and remediation of polluted sites. This study compared the capacity of trace element bioaccumulation in three wetland plants distributed worldwide: Typha domingensis, Phragmites australis and Arundo donax. The aims were to identify which species show better potential for removal and monitoring of these elements: Al, As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Hg, Mn, Ni, Pb, Zn. Results showed that all species may be used as biomonitors of trace element contamination in sediment, but only P. australis and A. donax showed also a correlation with water. Overall, T. domingensis and P. australis showed a greater capacity of bioaccumulation as well as a greater efficiency of element removal than A. donax. In particular, T. domingensis and P. australis may be used for Hg phytostabilization, the former acted also as a hyperaccumulator for Hg phytoextraction and as a promising species for As phytostabilization. In contaminated wetlands, the presence of T. domingensis and P. australis may increase the general retention of trace elements, thus, their introduction is recommended for possible actions of phytoremediation and biomonitoring.
    Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 08/2013; 97. DOI:10.1016/j.ecoenv.2013.07.017 · 2.76 Impact Factor
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    • "Land application of OMWW on soils cultivated with high evaporative demand and tolerant plants such as poplar could enhance the biological and chemical degradation of the effluent and solve their disposal problem. Several field applications and research projects on the use of poplar and willow in the management of waste water have previously been performed (Negri et al., 1996; Dix et al., 1997; Robinson et al., 2000; Kassel et al., 2002; Sebastiani et al., 2004; Tognetti et al., 2004; Giachetti and Sebastiani, 2006). The objective of our research is to understand how negative effects on soil physiochemical characteristics can be reduced by a fast growing poplar plantation. "
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    ABSTRACT: Olive (Olea europaea L.) cultivation covers roughly 4% of the agricultural area in the EU. It is widespread throughout the Mediterranean region, especially Spain (48%) and Italy (22.5%), where this crop is important for the rural economy, local heritage and the environment. Oil extraction procedures produce an aqueous effluent ("vegetation water") and a solid residue, mainly containing the olive skin and stone ("olive husk"). Vegetation waters, known as olive mill waste waters (OMWW), are becoming a major environmental problem because of the large amount produced and the toxicity of the phenolic compounds present. About 2.5 litres of OMWW are released per litre of oil produced, yielding an annual amount of 1.36 Mm 3 just in Italy (based on 2007/2008 data). In addition to polyphenols, the effluent contains high levels of plant nutrients, organic compounds, and inorganic salts. Excess amounts of these constituents can adversely impact soil and water quality. On the other hand, OMWW can be a valuable water source, fertilizer and soil amendment to improve soil conditions for plant growth. Yet, since biological purification of OMWW is particularly difficult due to its chemical and biological composition, managing its disposal back to the environment is extremely important. Land application of OMWW on soils cultivated with high evaporative demand and tolerant plants such as poplar could enhance the biological and chemical degradation of the effluent and solve the disposal problem. Therefore, we initiated a project in an olive farm near Pisa, Tuscany, for studying the fate of the OMWW constituents in a poplar short rotation forestry plantation. In this work we present the experimental design and preliminary results, discussing the initial characterization of the site's soil.
    Acta horticulturae 02/2011; 888(888):345-352. DOI:10.17660/ActaHortic.2011.888.39
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