Aquatic arsenic: Phytoremediation using floating macrophytes

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Journal Article
Chemosphere, 2011, 83 (5), pp. 633 - 646
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Phytoremediation, a plant based green technology, has received increasing attention after the discovery of hyperaccumulating plants which are able to accumulate, translocate, and concentrate high amount of certain toxic elements in their above-ground/harvestable parts. Phytoremediation includes several processes namely, phytoextraction, phytodegradation, rhizofiltration, phytostabilization and phytovolatilization. Both terrestrial and aquatic plants have been tested to remediate contaminated soils and waters, respectively. A number of aquatic plant species have been investigated for the remediation of toxic contaminants such as As, Zn, Cd, Cu, Pb, Cr, Hg, etc. Arsenic, one of the deadly toxic elements, is widely distributed in the aquatic systems as a result of mineral dissolution from volcanic or sedimentary rocks as well as from the dilution of geothermal waters. In addition, the agricultural and industrial effluent discharges are also considered for arsenic contamination in natural waters. Some aquatic plants have been reported to accumulate high level of arsenic from contaminated water. Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), duckweeds (Lemna gibba, Lemna minor, Spirodela polyrhiza), water spinach (Ipomoea aquatica), water ferns (Azolla caroliniana, Azolla filiculoides, and Azolla pinnata), water cabbage (Pistia stratiotes), hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata) and watercress (Lepidium sativum) have been studied to investigate their arsenic uptake ability and mechanisms, and to evaluate their potential in phytoremediation technology. It has been suggested that the aquatic macrophytes would be potential for arsenic phytoremediation, and this paper reviews up to date knowledge on arsenic phytoremediation by common aquatic macrophytes.
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