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Phytoremediation: Its Background and Global Scenario

Chhavi Jain


Phytoremediation is an evolving in situ remediation technology that utilizes plants to clean polluted soil, groundwater and wastewater. Phytoremediation is defined as that branch of science that utilizes inherent abilities of green plants to remove, contain, or render harmless environmental contaminants such as heavy metals, metalloids, organic compounds, trace elements, and radioactive substances present in soil or water. The plants used in this technology include trees, shrubs, grasses and even aquatic plants. The idea of using plants for cleaning up of contaminated soil and water is not new. It was around 300 years ago, when plants were proposed to treat wastewater. Thlaspi caerulescens and Viola calaminaria were the first plant species reported to accumulate high level of metals in their leaves. Afterwards, other plants such as those from the genus Astragalus, were also reported of accumulating metals like nickel and selenium in their shoots.

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