Reduction of heavy metal load in food chain: technology assessment

  • Anita Singh
  • Sheo Mohan PrasadEmail author


Industrialization and urbanization activities lead to extensive environmental problems and one of the most challenging problems is heavy metal contamination. Heavy metal is responsible for causing adverse effect on human health through food chain contamination. To minimize the effect, different methods are being used for decreasing heavy metal load into the food chain. Most of the traditional methods are either extremely costly or it simply isolate the contaminated site. A promising, relatively new technology for removal of heavy metal from contaminated sites is phytoremediation. There are numerous crops such as sunflower (Helianthus annus), maize (Zea mays), mustard (Brassica compestris), barley (Hordeum vulgare), beet (Beta vulgaris), bitter Gourd (Momordica charantia), brinjal (Solanum melongena), cauliflower (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis), chilli (Capsicum annum), coriander (Coriandrum sativum), fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum), garlic (Alium sativum), ivy gourd (Coccinia indica), lufa (Luffa acutangula), lady’s finger (Abelmoschus esculentus), mint (Mentha piperata), radish (Raphanus sativus), spinach (Spinacia oleracea), tomato (Lycopersicom esculentum), and white gourd (Lagenaria vulgaris) used for remediation of heavy metal. The efficiency of the phytoremediation crops depends upon their biomass production and ability of metal accumulation in their harvestable organs. In addition to this there are some biotechnological approaches for enhancing the property of hyper accumulator plant for metal remediation. Various potential remediation techniques are available that can be used to reduce the heavy metal contamination. Research related to relatively new technology should be promoted and emphasized and expanded in developing countries where heavy metal pollution has already touched alarming level. In the above context present review deals with different approaches to reduce the availability of heavy metal from soil to plants.


Environment Food chain Heavy metal Contamination Phytoremediation technology 



Authors acknowledge the University of Allahabad for providing necessary facilities and thanks are due to UGC, India for providing grants to Dr Anita Singh as UGC-Dr D.S.Kothari Post Doctoral Fellow.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ranjan Plant Physiology and Biochemistry Lab., Department of BotanyUniversity of AllahabadAllahabadIndia

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