The term "Phytoremediation" refers to a diverse collection of plant-based technologies that use either naturally occurring or
genetically engineered plants for cleaning contaminated environments. - Flathman and Lanza, 1998

  • Phytostabilization - the use of plants to minimize contaminant movement off-site .
  • Rhizofiltration (Phytofiltration) - using plants to clean aqueous environments.
  • Phytovolatilization - using plants to volatilize absorbed contaminants into the atmosphere.
  • Phytoextraction - exploiting the metal-accumulating ability of plants to clean polluted soils.

Recent phytoremediation research from the laboratory of Dr. Allen Barker has focused on the phytoextraction of zinc by Indian mustard (Brassica juncea Czern.). In recent years, researchers have discovered that Indian mustard accumulates moderate levels of environmentally important metals, including Zn. The metal-accumulating ability of this plant, coupled with the potential to rapidly produce large quantities of shoot mass, make this plant ideal for phytoextraction.

This research is relevent because zinc is the heavy metal occuring in the greatest concentration in wastes arising from industrialized communities, and Indian mustard is one of the most promising plants for phytoextraction use.

The primary objective of this research has been to investigate the relationships between mineral nutrition and the phytoextraction of zinc by Indian mustard. Mineral nutrition effects plant growth and nutrient accumulation - two factors that greatly influence the total quantity of metal that can be removed by harvesting the metal-rich shoot tissues.

Recent Phytoextraction Experiments

Hamlin, R.L., and A.V. Barker. 2002. Phytoextraction potential of Indian mustard as influenced by a range of zinc
concentrations in solution culture. Abstract

Hamlin, R.L., and A.V. Barker. 2002. Nutritional alleviation of zinc-induced iron deficiency in Indian mustard and the
effects on zinc phytoextraction. Abstract

Hamlin, R.L., and A.V. Barker. 2002. Influenced of ammonium and nitrate nutrition on plant growth and zinc accumulation
by Indian mustard. Abstract

Hamlin, R.L., and A.V. Barker. 2002. Zinc phytoextraction by Indian mustard as influenced by nitrogen and phosphorus
nutrition. Abstract


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