Phytoremediation is the quite novel technique of cleaning polluted sites through the use of plants. Phytoremediation methods are comparatively cheap, are accepted by the public and are ecologically advantageous, compared to common technological approaches. Until today, there have been only a few examples for successful applications. One reason is that the processes occurring are complex, and a full clean up may require many years. Plants have an influence on the water balance of a site, they change redox potential and pH, and stimulate microbial activity of the soil. These indirect influences may accelerate degradation in the root zone or reduce the leaching of compounds into the groundwater. Compounds taken up into plants may be metabolised, accumulate, or volatilise into air. Based on these processes, several phytoremediation methods have been developed: Phytoextraction, rhizofiltration, phytostabilisation, rhizound phytodegradation, pump and tree, land farming, phytovolatilisation, hydraulic control and even more. Already in use are plants (and here mainly willows, poplars and grasses) for the degradation of petroleum products, aromatic hydrocarbons (BTEX), chlorinated solvents, explosives and cyanides. Phytotoxicity and pollutants mass balance have rarely been documented carefully. Often, the success of the projects was not controlled, and only estimates can be made about the applicability and the potential of phytoremediation. This lack of experience about possibilities and limitations seems to be a hindrance for a broader use of these techniques.
|Journal||Umweltwissenschaften und Schadstoff-Forschung|
|Publication status||Published - 2000|