Wednesday, May 16, 2012

New article: Approaches for enhanced phytoextraction of heavy metals

The contamination of the environment with toxic metals has become a worldwide problem. Metal toxicity affects crop yields, soil biomass and fertility. Soils polluted with heavy metals pose a serious health hazard to humans as well as plants and animals, and often requires soil remediation practices.
Phytoextraction refers to the uptake of contaminants from soil or water by plant roots and their translocation to any harvestable plant part. Phytoextraction has the potential to remove contaminants and promote long-term cleanup of soil or wastewater. The success of phytoextraction as a potential environmental cleanup technology depends on factors like metal availability for uptake, as well as plants ability to absorb and accumulate metals in aerial parts.
Efforts are ongoing to understand the genetics and biochemistry of metal uptake, transport and storage in hyperaccumulator plants so as to be able to develop transgenic plants with improved phytoremediation capability. Many plant species are being investigated to determine their usefulness for phytoextraction, especially high biomass crops. The present review aims to give an updated version of information available with respect to metal tolerance and accumulation mechanisms in plants, as well as on the environmental and genetic factors affecting heavy metal uptake.
The genetic tools of classical breeding and genetic engineering have opened the door to creation of ‘remediation’ cultivars. An overview is presented on the possible strategies for developing novel genotypes with increased metal accumulation and tolerance to toxicity.
Journal of Environmental Management

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