, Volume 9, Issue 3–4, pp 311–318 | Cite as

Sulfur metabolism in higher plants: potential for phytoremediation

  • Wilfried H.O. Ernst


Sulfur is a major nutrient for all organisms. Plant species have a high biodiversity in uptake, metabolization and accumulation of sulfur so that there are potentials to use plants for phytoremediation of sulfur-enriched sites. A survey of soils enriched with sulfur either naturally or by human activities shows that a surplus of sulfur is mostly accompanied with a surplus of other chemical elements which may limit phytoremediation because these co-occurring elements are more toxic to plants than sulfur. In addition, the accumulation of the other elements makes the plant material (phyto-extraction) less suitable for the use as fodder and for human consumption.

glucosinolates gypsum heavy metals phyto-extraction phytoremediation sulfate 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wilfried H.O. Ernst
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Ecotoxicology, Faculty of BiologyVrije Universiteit, De Boelelaan 1087AmsterdamThe Netherlands

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