Recent Research Bibliographies and Selected Articles

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Research Bibliographies on Phytoremediatio

Updated 7/12/2003

Selected Articles on Phytoremediation

Phytodetoxification of TNT by transgenic plants expressing a bacterial nitroreductase

Nerissa Hannink1, Susan J. Rosser1, Christopher E. French, Amrik Basran, James A.H. Murray, Stephen Nicklin & Neil C. Bruce
Nature Biotechnology Volume 19 Number 12(December 2001)  pp 1168 - 1172
[Abstract][Full Text - HTML][Full Article - PDF]

Phytodegradation of p,p'-DDT and the Enantiomers of o,p'-DDT

Arthur W. Garrison,Valentine A. Nzengung,Jimmy K. Avants,J. Jackson Ellington,William J. Jones,Darrell Rennels, andN. Lee Wolfe
Environmental Science & Technology Volume 34, Issue 9 (May 1, 2000) 1663-1670
[Abstract][Full Text - HTML][Full Article - PDF][Purchase Article]

Enhancement of Phytoextraction of Zn, Cd, and Cu from Calcareous Soil: The Use of NTA and Sulfur Amendments

A. Kayser,K. Wenger,A. Keller,W. Attinger,H. R. Felix,S. K. Gupta, andR. Schulin
Environmental Science & Technology Volume 34, Issue 9 (May 1, 2000) 1778-1783.
[Abstract][Full Text - HTML][Full Article - PDF][Purchase Article]

Phytoremediation of soil metals.
     Chaney RL; Malik M; Li YM; Brown SL; Brewer EP; Angle JS; Baker AJ
     United States Department of Agriculture, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center West, MD 20705, USA.
     Curr Opin Biotechnol, 8(3):279-84 1997 Jun
     The phytoremediation of metal-contaminated soils offers a low-cost method for soil remediation and some extracted metals may be recycled for value. Both the phytoextraction of metals and the phytovolatilization of Se or Hg by plants offer great promise for commercial development. Natural metal hyperaccumulator phenotype is much more important than high-yield ability when using plants to remove metals from contaminated soils. The hypertolerance of metals is the key plant characteristic required for hyperaccumulation; vacuolar compartmentalization appears to be the source of hypertolerance of natural hyperaccumulator plants. Alternatively, soil Pb and Cr6+ may be inactivated in the soil by plants and soil amendments (phytostabilization). Little molecular understanding of plant activities critical to phytoremediation has been achieved, but recent progress in characterizing Fe, Cd and Zn uptake by Arabidopsis and yeast mutants indicates strategies for developing transgenic improved phytoremediation cultivars for commercial use. 

Phytoremediation of methylmercury pollution: merB expression in Arabidopsis thaliana confers resistance to organomercurials.
     Bizily SP; Rugh CL; Summers AO; Meagher RB
     Department of Genetics, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA.
     Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 96(12):6808-13 1999 Jun 8
     Methylmercury is an environmental toxicant that biomagnifies and causes severe neurological degeneration in animals. It is produced by bacteria in soils and sediments that have been contaminated with mercury. To explore the potential of plants to extract and detoxify this chemical, we engineered a model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana, to express a modified bacterial gene, merBpe, encoding organomercurial lyase (MerB) under control of a plant promoter. MerB catalyzes the protonolysis of the carbon---mercury bond, removing the organic ligand and releasing Hg(II), a less mobile mercury species. Transgenic plants expressing merBpe grew vigorously on a wide range of concentrations of monomethylmercuric chloride and phenylmercuric acetate. Plants lacking the  merBpe gene were severely inhibited or died at the same organomercurial concentrations. Six independently isolated transgenic lines produced merBpe mRNA and MerB protein at levels that varied over a 10- to 15-fold range, and even the lowest levels of merBpe expression conferred resistance to organomercurials. Our work suggests that native macrophytes (e.g., trees, shrubs, grasses) engineered to express merBpe may be used to degrade methylmercury at polluted sites and sequester Hg(II) for later removal.

Adsorption of Europium Ions by Water Hyacinth
Colleen Kelley, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ - Presentation of 24 July 1998
    Dr Kelley and her students are investigating the use of the water hyacinth, a free-floating macrophyte, to adsorp toxic metals on the roots of the plant.  In order to avoid problems associated with disposal of hazardous waste, they have been using Europium (Eu) in their studies as an analog for toxic metals.  The findings of the research conducted by Dr Kelley and her students suggests that the water hyacinth can be used to remediate water contaminated with trivalent radionuclides.

Sulfur metabolism in higher plants: potential for phytoremediation.
Ernst WH
Department of Ecology and Ecotoxicology, Faculty of Biology, Vrije Universiteit, De Boelelaan 1087, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Biodegradation, 9(3-4):311-8 1998

Sulfur is a major nutrient for all organisms. Plant species have a high biodiversity in uptake, metabolization and accumulation of sulfur so that there are potentials to use plants for phytoremediation of sulfur-enriched sites. A survey of soils enriched with sulfur either naturally or by human activities shows that a surplus of sulfur is mostly accompanied with a surplus of other chemical elements which may limit phytoremediation because these co-occurring elements are more toxic to plants than sulfur. In addition, the accumulation of the other elements makes the plant material (phyto-extraction) less suitable for the use as fodder and for human consumption.

Phytoremediation of trichloroethylene with hybrid poplars.
     Gordon M; Choe N; Duffy J; Ekuan G; Heilman P; Muiznieks I; Ruszaj M; Shurtleff BB; Strand S; Wilmoth J; Newman LA
     University of Washington, Dept. of Biochemistry, Seattle 98195-7350, USA.
     Environ Health Perspect, 106 Suppl 4():1001-4 1998 Aug
     Axenic tumor cultures of poplar cells, clone H11-11, were grown in the presence of [14C]-trichloroethylene (TCE) (uniformly labeled). The cells were capable of metabolizing TCE to produce trichloroethanol, di- and trichloroacetic acid. Some of the carbon from TCE was found in insoluble, nonextractable cell residue, and small amounts were mineralized to [14C]CO2. Poplar cuttings grown in soil and exposed to TCE produced the same metabolites. In field trials, trees were planted in soil in test cells and exposed to TCE via underground water injection during the growing season. During the growing season, at least 95% of the TCE was removed from the influent water stream in cells containing trees. Mass balance studies conducted in the laboratory indicated that 70 to 90% of the TCE was transpired; however, greenhouse and field study results showed that less than 5% of the total TCE taken up by the plants is transpired. These results show that significant TCE uptake and degradation occur in poplars. Poplars appear to be useful for in situ remediation of TCE-contaminated sites under proper conditions.

Screening of aquatic and wetland plant species for phytoremediation of explosives-contaminated groundwater from the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant.
     Best EP; Zappi ME; Fredrickson HL; Sprecher SL; Larson SL; Ochman M
     AScl Corporation, Vicksburg, Mississippi 39081, USA.
     Ann N Y Acad Sci, 829():179-94 1997 Nov 21
     The results of this study indicate that the presence of plants did enhance TNT and TNB removal from IAAP groundwater. Most effective at 25 degrees C were reed canary grass, coontail and pondweed. Groundwater and plant tissue analyses indicate that in presence of the plants tested TNT is degraded to reduced by-products and to other metabolites that were not analyzed. TNT removal was best modeled using first order kinetics, with rate constants at 25 degrees C incubations ranging from 0.038 microgram L-1 h-1 for reed canary grass to 0.012 microgram L-1 h-1 for parrot-feather. These kinetics predict hydraulic retention times (HRTs) ranging from 4.9 days to 19.8 days to reach a TNT concentration of 2 micrograms L-1. Decreasing incubation temperature  to 10 degrees C affected reed canary grass more than parrot-feather, increasing estimated HRTs by factors of four and two, respectively. The plant species tested showed a far lower potential for RDX removal from the IAAP groundwater. Most effective at 25 degrees C were reed canary grass and fox sedge.  Analyses of plant material indicated the presence of RDX in under-water plant portions and in aerial plant portions, and RDX accumulation in the latter. RDX removal was best modeled using zero order kinetics, with rate constants for the 25 degrees C incubation ranging from 13.45 micrograms L-1 h-1 for reed canary grass to no removal in four species. Based on these kinetics, estimated HRTs to reach 2 micrograms L-1 RDX increased from 39 days. Decreasing the temperature to 10 degrees C increased HRT 24-fold for reed canary grass. By using the biomass-normalized K value, submersed plants are identified as having the highest explosives-removing activity (microgram explosive L-1 h-1 g DW-1). However, biomass production of submersed plants is normally five to ten times less than that of emergent plants per unit area, and, thus, in plant selection for wetland construction, both, explosives removal potential and biomass production are important determinants.

Another publication:

Phytoremediation of TNT-Contaminated Soils Using Plants Selected by a Four-Step Screening Procedure

EPA Contract Number: 68D70027
Title: Phytoremediation of TNT-Contaminated Soils Using Plants Selected by a Four-Step Screening Procedure
Principal Investigator: Dr. Ari M. Ferro
Small Business:
Phytokinetics, Inc.
1770 North Research Park Way, Suite 110
North Logan, UT 84341
Telephone Number: 801-750-0985
[ link to abstract ]

 Last update:  July 12, 2003