Environmental Chemistry Letters

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 1339–1359 | Cite as

Phytoremediation of heavy metals: mechanisms, methods and enhancements

  • S. Muthusaravanan
  • N. Sivarajasekar
  • J. S. Vivek
  • T. Paramasivan
  • Mu. Naushad
  • J. Prakashmaran
  • V. Gayathri
  • Omar K. Al-Duaij


Polluted soil and water impact the quality of food and nutrients of human and animal biota. Soil and water are mainly polluted by effluent discharges from industries, which are broadly classified into metallic and nonmetallic pollutant-bearing effluents. In order to tackle this problem, a plant-based technology called phytoremediation is used to clean contaminated lands. Phytoremediation is based upon several processes such as phytodegradation, phytovolatilization, phytoaccumulation and phytoextraction. These methods are efficient, eco-friendly and economic. This paper reviews the methods and mechanisms involved in phytoremediation of heavy metals, and enhancement processes.


Heavy metals Phytoremediation Eco-friendly Mechanism Enhancement 



Total petroleum products


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons


Cyclohexane-1,2-diamine tetra-acetic acid


Ethylene diamine tetra-acetic acid


Diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid


Ethylene glycol-bis-(beta-amino-ethyl ether) N,N,N′,N′-tetra-acetic acid


Nitrilo triacetic acid




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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory for Bioremediation Research, Unit Operations Laboratory, Department of BiotechnologyKumaraguru College of TechnologyCoimbatoreIndia
  2. 2.Department of Chemistry, College of ScienceKing Saud UniversityRiyadhSaudi Arabia
  3. 3.Department of Food Science and NutritionPeriyar UniversitySalemIndia
  4. 4.Department of Civil EngineeringKumaraguru College of TechnologyCoimbatoreIndia
  5. 5.Department of Chemistry, College of ScienceIMSIU, Al-Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic UniversityRiyadhSaudi Arabia

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