Phytoremediation, the use of plants and their associated microbes to remedy contaminated soils, sediments, and groundwater, is emerging as a cost-effective and environmentally friendly technology. Due in large part to its aesthetic appeal, this technology has gained increasing attention over the past 10 years. Phytoremediation uses different plant processes and mechanisms normally involved in the accumulation, complexation, volatilization, and degradation of organic and inorganic pollutants. Certain plants, called hyperaccumulators, are good candidates in Phytoremediation, particularly for the removal of heavy metals. Phytoremediation efficiency of plants can be substantially improved using genetic engineering technologies. Recent research results, including overexpression of genes whose protein products are involved in metal uptake, transport, and sequestration, or act as enzymes involved in the degradation of hazardous organics, have opened up new possibilities in phytoremediation. This paper provides a critical review of the recent progress made toward the development of transgenic plants with improved phytoremediation capabilities and their potential use in environmental cleanup.
- Soil pollution
- Genetic engineering