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Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2009 Apr;20(2):248-54. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2009.02.012. Epub 2009 Mar 25.

Phytoremediation: plant-endophyte partnerships take the challenge.

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  • 1Hasselt University, Department of Environmental Biology, Diepenbeek, Belgium.


A promising field to exploit plant-endophyte partnerships is the remediation of contaminated soils and (ground) water. Many plant growth promoting endophytes can assist their host plant to overcome contaminant-induced stress responses, thus providing improved plant growth. During phytoremediation of organic contaminants, plants can further benefit from endophytes possessing appropriate degradation pathways and metabolic capabilities, leading to more efficient contaminant degradation and reduction of both phytotoxicity and evapotranspiration of volatile contaminants. For phytoremediation of toxic metals, endophytes possessing a metal-resistance/sequestration system can lower metal phytotoxicity and affect metal translocation to the above-ground plant parts. Furthermore, endophytes that can degrade organic contaminants and deal with or, even better, improve extraction of the metals offer promising ways to improve phytoremediation of mixed pollution.

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