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Investigation of the Ability of Plants Found in Western Kentucky to Hyperaccumulate Lead and Aluminum from Soils

Authors
Journal
Microchemical Journal
0026-265X
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
56
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1006/mchj.1996.1439
Disciplines
  • Ecology
  • Geography

Abstract

Abstract Hazardous waste sites are a major problem and of heightened concern for the world today. Many conventional and experimental technologies are available for soil remediation. Unfortunately, the costs associated with the majority of these methods are nearly equivalent to the benefits. Heavy metal contaminants are quite common and present increased difficulty in soil remediation. Currently, the method most frequently used for the remediation of sites contaminated with heavy metals is excavation. This process is both expensive and impractical. A method that offers significantly more benefits than conventional technology is the use of plants to accumulate heavy metals from the soil. It is less expensive and safer for humans and the environment. A group of native plants found in western Kentucky have been identified as potential phytoremediators, along with common garden plants, which have the ability to hyperaccumulate lead and/or aluminum. Lettuce, cantaloupe, and corn are capable of collecting significant amounts of aluminum. Cauliflower and tomato plants can accumulate both aluminum and lead. The hyperaccumulation of heavy metals by these plants could be used as one solution to a costly environmental cleanup problem.

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