Phytoremediation, the use of plants and their associated microbes for soil, water, and air decontamination, is a cost-effective, solar-driven, and alternative/complementary technology for physicochemical approaches. Plants can be used for extraction, stabilization, degradation, and volatilization as well as for the conversion of many inorganic compounds as nitrates, phosphates, metals, and radionuclides to less toxic forms, reducing their associate risks to humans, animals, and the environment. The applicability of these mechanisms is reviewed here, including its applicability for soils contaminated with heavy metals and radionuclides, as well as the application of plants for the improvement of water quality in polluted waters (phytodepuration). Main polluted sites in Europe and main polluting anthropogenic activities where identified. The main soil remediation technologies, and, in particular, the application of phytoremediation technology using industrial crops and their mechanisms with the generation of economic value was referred. The advantages and limitations of this approach are also presented. Bridging phytoremediation with the production of a multipurpose biomass could provide environmental benefits and social and economic opportunities, by improving the overall sustainability of the biosystem.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationElectrokinetics Across Disciplines and Continents: New Strategies for Sustainable Development
EditorsA. Ribeiro , E. Mateus, N. Couto
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer International Publishing Switzerland
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-20179-5
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-20178-8
Publication statusPublished - 25 Aug 2015


  • Phytoremediation
  • Phytodepuration
  • Inorganic compounds
  • Contaminated soils
  • Wastewaters
  • Industrial crops


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