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Annu Rev Plant Biol. 2005;56:15-39.


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  • 1Biology Department, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523, USA.


Phytoremediation, the use of plants and their associated microbes for environmental cleanup, has gained acceptance in the past 10 years as a cost-effective, noninvasive alternative or complementary technology for engineering-based remediation methods. Plants can be used for pollutant stabilization, extraction, degradation, or volatilization. These different phytoremediation technologies are reviewed here, including their applicability for various organic and inorganic pollutants, and most suitable plant species. To further enhance the efficiency of phytoremediation, there is a need for better knowledge of the processes that affect pollutant availability, rhizosphere processes, pollutant uptake, translocation, chelation, degradation, and volatilization. For each of these processes I review what is known so far for inorganic and organic pollutants, the remaining gaps in our knowledge, and the practical implications for designing phytoremediation strategies. Transgenic approaches to enhance these processes are also reviewed and discussed.

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