Phytoremediation of Explosive-Contaminated Soils

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Department of Biological Sciences


In order to select appropriate plant species for phytoremediation of explosive compounds, phytotoxicity, uptake proficiency, capability of the plant to degrade/transform the compounds, and several environmental factors need to be considered. The environmental factors comprise climatic attributes, soil type, the water environment, root penetration depth, contaminant kinetics, and bioavailability. Out of the plant species that have shown efficient TNT uptake, there are only a few that can do so in a variety of environments, which is imperative in case of contaminants that are widespread, such as TNT and RDX. The two most effective species for TNT uptake reported to date are Eurasian water milfoil, Myriophyllum spicatum and vetiver grass, Chrysopogon zizanioides. For RDX phytoremediation, reed canary grass, fox sedge, and rice have shown promise, although degradation of RDX in the plant tissue is limited. Over the past few decades, a considerable amount of information on phytotoxicity and metabolism of TNT and RDX in plants and microorganisms have been collected, which has led to the identification of potential plant species for use in TNT and RDX phytoremediation, as well as candidate genes for developing effective transgenic plants. Recent research has also revealed promising non-transgenic approaches, such as use of chaotropic agents for enhanced solubilization and uptake of TNT, which could prove to be practical and effective for military sites. Field trials of some of these promising new technologies are necessary for the development of effective, low-cost, and environmentally friendly phytoremediation of explosive-contaminated sites.

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© 2015, Springer International Publishing AG. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40726-015-0003-3

Publication Title

Current Pollution Reports