|Phytoremediation is the direct use of living green plants for in situ, or in place, removal, degradation, or containment of contaminants in soils, sludges, sediments, surface water and groundwater. Phytoremediation is a low cost, solar energy driven cleanup technique.
Although environmental pollution was first realized to be a threat to public health in the latter part of the 20th century, events in the 21st century have served to increase the public awareness of the impacts of environmental pollution. Several communities, including the scientific community initiated dialogues to help protect the planet from environmental pollution. Further, scientific community initiated basic and applied research in an effort to decontaminate soil, water, and air pollutions arising from industrial and petroleum wastes, as well as from the use of pesticides and herbicides. They utilized plant enzymes, as well as bacterial, fungal, and mammalian enzymes cloned in plants (transgenic plants), to detoxify soil and water contaminations (phytoremediation). Although there was a slow increase in research publications of phytoremediation from 1990-2000, a significant increase in their publications from 2001-2008 was observed. Interestingly, a decline in research publications since 2009 was observed, which suggests that there is a challenge in this type of research for further improvements in phytoremediation. A similar trend was also observed with cytochrome P450 (CYP)-mediated phytoremediation. CYP family of enzymes involved in the metabolism and detoxification of numerous xenobiotics, including herbicides, pesticides, and industrial pollutants, such as pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and polychlorinated benzene (PCBs).