Saturday, November 13, 2010

What is Phytoremediation? Discuss its Applications Civil Services Main Exam General Studies question paper-II 2010

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What is Phytoremediation? Discuss its Applications Civil Services General Studies question paper-II 2010

Phytoremediation refers to the use of plants for cleaning up contaminants in soil, groundwater, surface water and air. It is a cost-effective and non-polluting way to remove toxic chemicals that contaminate soil and water and also it offers remediation of brownfield sites. Phytoremediation has several methodologies which includes

1.    Phytoextraction or phytoconcentration : contaminant concentrated in roots, stem and foliage of plan.

2.    Phytodegradation: plant enzymes help catalyze breakdown of the contaminant molecule.

3.    Rhizosphere biodegradation: plant roots release nutrients to mircro-organisms which  are active in     
       bio-degradation of the contaminant molecule.

4.    Volatilization : transpiration of organics, selenium and mercury run through leaves of the plant

5.    Stabilization:  ant converts the contaminant into a form which is not bioavailable, or the plant prevents              the spreading of a contaminant plume.

Applications of Phytoremediation

•    The principal application of Phytoremediation is for lightly contaminated soils, sledges and waters where    the material to be treated is at a shallow or medium depth and the area to be treated is large, so that agronomic techniques are economical and applicable for both planting and harvesting.

•    Phytoremediation can be applied for producing energy from controlled combustion of harvested biomass

•    Applied for harvesting valuable metals that are dispersed in soil

•    Applied for providing quick remediation of Brownfield sites.