Phytoremediation is a remediation technique based on plants and their interactions with the soil and microorganisms. In particular, this technique includes water purification and soil remediation. The technique's efficiency in addressing air pollution is often disputed.
In conjunction with the soil's microorganisms, plants and algae reduce the mobility of some pollutants (phytostabilisation), absorb them (phytoextraction), fix them in their tissues (phytostabilisation) or metabolise them, detoxifying and eliminating them (phytodegradation).
Advantages of phytoremediation
Phytoremediation has the advantage of being generally innocuous, low cost and makes use of plant material or fixed elements. On the other hand, the process is long and allows some of the pollutants to escape. In addition, it is not suitable for some types of pollution and impossible if the level of toxicity is too high for the plants.
Diagram of a phytoremediation treatment system for used water. © MIT OpenCourseWare CC by-nc-sa 2.0
Phytoremediation - 1 Photo