Author(s): Suresh B, Ravishankar GA
Abstract Share this page
Abstract Phytoremediation is an eco friendly approach for remediation of contaminated soil and water using plants. Phytoremediation is comprised of two components, one by the root colonizing microbes and the other by plants themselves, which degrade the toxic compounds to further non-toxic metabolites. Various compounds, viz. organic compounds, xenobiotics, pesticides and heavy metals, are among the contaminants that can be effectively remediated by plants. Plant cell cultures, hairy roots and algae have been studied for their ability to degrade a number of contaminants. They exhibit various enzymatic activities for degradation of xenobiotics, viz. dehalogenation, denitrification leading to breakdown of complex compounds to simple and non-toxic products. Plants and algae also have the ability to hyper accumulate various heavy metals by the action of phytochelatins and metallothioneins forming complexes with heavy metals and translocate them into vacuoles. Molecular cloning and expression of heavy metal accumulator genes and xenobiotic degrading enzyme coding genes resulted in enhanced remediation rates, which will be helpful in making the process for large-scale application to remediate vast areas of contaminated soils. A few companies worldwide are also working on this aspect of bioremediation, mainly by transgenic plants to replace expensive physical or chemical remediation techniques. Selection and testing multiple hyperaccumulator plants, protein engineering ofphytochelatin and membrane transporter genes and their expression would enhance the rate of phytoremediation, making this process a successful one for bioremediation of environmental contamination. Recent years have seen major investments in the R&D, which have also resulted in competition of filing patents by several companies for economic gains. The details of science & technology related to phytoremediation have been discussed with a focus on future trends and prospects of global relevance.
This article was published in Crit Rev Biotechnol
and referenced in Biochemistry & Physiology: Open Access