Phytoremediation Mechanism in Indian Mustard (Brassica juncea) and Its Enhancement Through Agronomic Interventions


The increasing heavy metal pollution in the agro-ecosystem has become a serious concern worldwide. These metals do not decay in the nature and become toxic to the plants, animals and human beings when exceed specific thresholds. Anthropogenic input of heavy metals in agricultural land includes industrial and agricultural disposal, waste incineration and urban effluent of wastewater. Phytoremediation, by using metal-accumulating plants like Brassica sp., including Indian mustard (Brassica juncea) for toxic metal removal from soil has been proposed as a possible solution to this problem. Phytoremediation is a cost effective and nondestructive, but the challenges in the fast extraction of heavy metals by Indian mustard include initial slow growth, ability to extract some particular metal only, poor bioavailability of heavy metals in soils and non-compartmentalization within plant parts. Addition of organic matter, organic chelates, soil amendments, adoption of suitable cropping systems, intercrops and fertilizer selection can enhance the phytoremediation capacity of Indian mustard. Growing Indian mustard with these agronomic interventions can augment the ability to absorb, uptake and concentrate heavy metal under contaminating soils.

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All benefits in any form from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this manuscript or any of the authors are dully acknowledged. This is a review article; therefore the issue of fund is not applicable. However, the support and guidance rendered by ICAR-IARI is fully acknowledged.

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Correspondence to S. S. Rathore.

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Significance statement

The study is relevant in the context of rising awareness about organic farming. Phytoremediation and its enhancement through agronomic intervention certainly going to help in detoxifying soils and getting good quality of produce. In many of the areas especially in peri urban and urban, polluted water is being released in agricultural lands. Subsequently its disposal in arable soil is leading to soil sickness and poisoning of edible produce with heavy metals. Phytoremediation is going to help in great-way in addressing these problems.

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Rathore, S.S., Shekhawat, K., Dass, A. et al. Phytoremediation Mechanism in Indian Mustard (Brassica juncea) and Its Enhancement Through Agronomic Interventions. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., India, Sect. B Biol. Sci. 89, 419–427 (2019).

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  • Bioconcentration factor
  • Brassica sp.
  • Chelating agent
  • Phytoextraction
  • Phytoremediation