Sunday, October 13, 2013

The use of organisms such as plants or microorganisms to aid in removing hazardous substances from an area.

What is Phytoremediation? Discuss its Applications 

[Civil Services General Studies MAINS question paper-II 2010] 

Phytoremediation refers to the use of plants for cleaning up contaminants in soil, groundwater, surface water and air. It is a cost-effective and non-polluting way to remove toxic chemicals that contaminate soil and water and also it offers remediation of brownfield sites. 

Phytoremediation has several methodologies which includes 

1.  Phytoextraction or phytoconcentration : contaminant concentrated in roots, stem and foliage of plan.

2. Phytodegradation : plant enzymes help catalyze breakdown of the contaminant molecule.

3. Rhizosphere biodegradation: plant roots release nutrients to mircro-organisms which  are active in
bio-degradation of the contaminant molecule.

4. Volatilization: transpiration of organics, selenium and mercury run through leaves of the plant

5. Stabilization:  ant converts the contaminant into a form which is not bioavailable, or the plant prevents  the spreading of a contaminant plume.

Applications of Phytoremediation 

•    The principal application of Phytoremediation is for lightly contaminated soils, sledges and waters where    the material to be treated is at a shallow or medium depth and the area to be treated is large, so that agronomic techniques are economical and applicable for both planting and harvesting.

•    Phytoremediation can be applied for producing energy from controlled combustion of harvested biomass

•    Applied for harvesting valuable metals that are dispersed in soil

•    Applied for providing quick remediation of Brownfield sites.


For Hydrocarbons

Print Friendly and PDF

Blog Archive