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Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2011 Jul;18(6):842-56. doi: 10.1007/s11356-011-0498-0. Epub 2011 Apr 5.

Is phytoremediation a sustainable and reliable approach to clean-up contaminated water and soil in Alpine areas?

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1
Laboratory for Environmental Biotechnology, EPFL, Station 6, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland. Jean-paul.schwitzguebel@epfl.ch

Abstract

BACKGROUND, AIM AND SCOPE:

Phytoremediation does exploit natural plant physiological processes and can be used to decontaminate agricultural soils, industrial sites, brownfields, sediments and water containing inorganic and organic pollutants or to improve food chain safety by phytostabilisation of toxic elements. It is a low-cost and environment friendly technology targetting removal, degradation or immobilisation of contaminants. The aim of the present review is to highlight some recent advances in phytoremediation in the Alpine context.

MAIN FEATURES:

Case studies are presented where phytoremediation has been or can be successfully applied in Alpine areas to: (1) clean-up industrial wastewater containing sulphonated aromatic xenobiotics released by dye and textile industries; (2) remediate agricultural soils polluted by petroleum hydrocarbons; (3) improve food chain safety in soils contaminated with toxic trace elements (As, Co, Cr and Pb); and (4) treat soils impacted by modern agricultural activities with a special emphasis on phosphate fertilisation.

CONCLUSIONS, RECOMMENDATIONS AND PERSPECTIVES:

Worlwide, including in Alpine areas, the controlled use of appropriate plants is destined to play a major role for remediation and restoration of polluted and degraded ecosystems, monitoring and assessment of environmental quality, prevention of landscape degradation and immobilisation of trace elements. Phytotechnologies do already offer promising approaches towards environmental remediation, human health, food safety and sustainable development for the 21st century in Alpine areas and elsewhere all over the world.

PMID:
21465158
DOI:
10.1007/s11356-011-0498-0
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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