Phytoremediation of Metal and Metalloids from Contaminated Soil

  • Haythum M. Salem
  • Ali Abdel-Salam
  • Mohamed A. Abdel-Salam
  • Mahmoud F. SeleimanEmail author


Many of heavy metals in soil are essential nutrients for plant species, when they are presented in low to reasonable contents. However, if they are extremely toxic, they would be hazardous; and some may form free radicals. The principal causes of heavy metal contamination in soils can be deposition of pollutants on the soil; industrial sewage effluents whether disposed into water bodies or directly on the soil; sewage sediments; polluted organic manures and mineral fertilizers; pesticide chemicals and vehicles exhaust fumes. Remediation of the environment to get rid of such noxious toxic metals and materials is highly costly. Safe non-costly methods are through using plants to remove such metals and toxic pollutants, i.e. phytoremediation. In the current chapter, remediation methods of contaminated soil and hyper accumulator plants were discussed.


Environmental pollutants Heavy metals Phytoremediation Cadmium Abiotic stress 


  1. Abdel-Mageed A, Sadik MW, Al-Shahrani HO, Ali HM (2013) Phyto microbial degradation of glyphosphate in Riyadh area. Int J Microbiol Res 5:458–466CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Abdel-Megeed A, Abou-Elseoud II, Mostafa AA, Al-Ramah AN, Eifan SA (2012) Biodegradation of mineral oil by bacterial strains isolated from contaminated soils. Afr J Microbiol Res 6:6994–7002Google Scholar
  3. Abdel-Salam AA, Salem HM, Abdel-Salam MA, Seleiman MF (2015) Phytochemical removal of Heavy metal-contaminated soil. In: Sherameti I, Varma A (eds) Heavy metal contamination of soils: monitoring and remediation. Springer, Cham, pp 299–311Google Scholar
  4. Adriano DC (1986) Trace elements in the terrestrial environment. Springer, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ahmad R, Misra N (2014) Evaluation of phytoremediation potential of Catharanthus roseus with respect to chromium contamination. Am J Plant Sci 5:2378–2388CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Alloway BJ (1990) Heavy metals in soils. Blackie, GlasgowGoogle Scholar
  7. Alloway BJ (2013) Heavy metals in soils: trace metals and metalloids in soils and their bioavailability. Springer, LondonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Alloway BJ, Jackson AP (1991) The behavior of heavy metals in sewage- sludge amended soils. Sci Total Environ 100:151–176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Anon (2013) Stinging nettle. Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, Ohio State University, ColumbusGoogle Scholar
  10. Anon (2017) Phytoextraction coefficient. TERMIUM Plus, the government of Canada’s terminology and linguistic data bank, Canada. Environment 4:24–30Google Scholar
  11. Baker AJM, Brooks RR (1989) Terrestrial higher plants which hyper-accumulate metalic elements. A review of their distribution, ecology and phytochemistry. Biorecovery 1:81–126Google Scholar
  12. Bandiera M, Dal-Cortivo C, Barion G, Mosca G, Vamerali T (2016) Phytoremediation opportunities with Alimurgic species in metal-contaminated environments. Sustainability 8:357–368CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bethany L (2017) Soil contamination: its causes, effects, and solutions. Permaculture Research Institute (PRI), NSWGoogle Scholar
  14. Bizily SP, Kim T, Kandasamy MK, Meagher RB (2003) Subcellular targeting of methylmercury lyase enhances its specific activity for organic mercury detoxification in plants. Plant Physiol 131:463–471CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Buhari ML, Babura SR, Vyas NL, Badaru S, Harisu OY (2016) Role of biotechnology in phytoremediation. J Bioremed Biodegr 7:330–339Google Scholar
  16. De-Valle-Zermeno R, Formosa J, Chimenos JM (2015) Low-grade magnesium oxide by-products for environmental solutions: characterization and geochemical performance. J Geochem Explor 152:143–144Google Scholar
  17. Dushenkov D (2003) Trends in phytoremediation of radionuclides. Plant Soil 249:167–175CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Eapen S, D’Souza SF (2005) Prospects of genetic engineering of plants for phytoremediation of toxic metals. Biotechnol Adv 23:97–114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ebbs SD, Kochian LV (1997) Toxicity of Zn and Cu to Brassica species: implications for phytoremediation. J Environ Qual 26:776–781CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Errami E, Seghedi A (2016) Building bridges between earth scientists worldwide: a way for promoting peace and strengthening integration. 8th Conference. Association of African Women in Geosciences (AAWG), 1–7 October 2016 SibiuGoogle Scholar
  21. Favas JC, Pratas J, Varun M, D’Souza R, Paul MS (2014) Phyto-remediation of soils contaminated with metals and metalloids at mining areas: potential of native flora. In Tech Publ, RijekaGoogle Scholar
  22. Ghosg M, Singh SP (2005) A review on phytoremediation of heavy metals and utilization of its byproducts. As J Energy Environ 6:214–231Google Scholar
  23. Glick BR (2003) Phytoremediation: synergistic use of plants and bacteria to clean up the environment. Biotechnol Adv 21:383–393CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gomes HI, Dias-Ferreira C, Ribeiro AB (2013) Overview of in situ and ex situ remediation technologies for PCB-contaminated soils and sediments and obstacles for full-scale application. Sci Total Environ 445:237–260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hartman WJ (1975) An evaluation of land treatment of municipal wastewater and physical siting of facility installations. U.S. Department of the Army, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  26. Heaton AC, Rugh CC, Kim T, Meagher RB (2003) Toward detoxifying mercury-polluted aquatic sediments with rice genetically engineered for mercury resistance. Environ Toxicol Chem 22:2940–2947CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Henry JR (2000) An overview of phytoremediation of lead and mercury. A Report by the Nat. Network for Environ. Management Studies (NNEMS) Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  28. Hooda PH (2010) Trace elements in soils. Wiley, ChichesterCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Ijaz A, Imran A, Ul-Haq MA, Khan QM, Afza M (2016) Phyto-remediation: recent advances in plant-endophytic synergistic interactions. Plant Soil 405:179–195CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kabata A, Mukhergee AB (2007) Trace elements from soil to human. Springer, BerlinCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Karenlampi S, Schat H, Vangronsveld J, Verkleij JAC, Van-der-Lelie Mergeay D, Mergeay M, Tervahauta AI (2000) Genetic engineering in the improvement of plants for phytoremediation of metal polluted soils. Environ Pollut 107:225–231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kinnersley AM (1993) The role of phyto-chelates in plant growth and productivity. J Plant Growth Regul 12:207–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kuiper I, Bloemberg GV, Lugtenberg BJJ (2001) Selection of a plant bacterium pair as a novel tool for rhizo-stimulation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon degrading bacteria. Mol Plant-Microbe Interact 14:1197–1205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kuiper I, Lagendijk EL, Bloemberg GV, Lugtenberg BJJ (2004) Rhizo-remediation: a beneficial plant microbe interaction. Mol Plant-Microbe Interact 7:6–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. McGrath SP (2003) Phytoextraction of metals and metalloids from contaminated soils. Curr Opin Biotechnol 14:277–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. McLaughlin MJ, Hamon RE, McLaren TG, Speir TW, Rogers SL (2000) Review: a bioavailability-based rationale for controlling metal and metalloid contamination of agricultural land in Australia and New Zealand. Aust J Soil Res 38:1037–1086CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. McNeil KR, Waring S (1992) Contaminated land treatment. In: Whitacre DM (ed) Review of environmental contamination and toxicology. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  38. Meagher RB, Rugh CL, Kandasoamy MK, Gragson G, Wang NJ (2000) Engineered phytoremediation of mercury pollution in soil and water using bacterial genes. In: Terry N, Banuelos G (eds) Phytoremediation of contaminated soil and water. CRC Press, London, pp 202–233Google Scholar
  39. Mench MJ, Didier VL, Löffler M, Gomez A, Masson P (1994) A mimicked in situ remediation study of metal-contaminated soils with emphasis on cadmium and lead. J Environ Qual 23:58–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Millaleo R, Reyes-Diaz M, Ivanov AG, Mora ML, Alberdi M (2010) Manganese as essential and toxic element for plants: transport, accumulation and resistance mechanisms. J Soil Sci Plant Nutr 10:470–481CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Mulligan CN, Yong RN, Gibbs B (2001) Remediation technologies for metal-contaminated soils and groundwater: an evaluation. Eng Geol 6:193–207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Patra M, Bhowmik N, Bandopadhyay B, Sharma A (2004) Comparison of mercury, lead and arsenic with respect to geno-toxic effects on plant systems and development of genetic tolerance. Environ Exp Bot 52:199–223CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Pulford ID, Watson C (2003) Phytoremediation of heavy metal-contaminated land by trees: a review. Environ Int 29:529–540CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Raskin I, Smith RD, Salt DE (1997) Phytoremediation of metals usingplants to remove pollutants from the environment. Curr Opin Biotechnol 8:221–226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Roberts L, Brower A, Kerr G, Lambert S, McWilliam W, Moore K, Quinn J, Simmons D, Thrush S, Townsend M, Blaschke P, Costanza R, Cullen R, Hughey K, Wratten S (2015) The nature of wellbeing: How nature’s ecosystem services contribute to the well-being of New Zealand and New-Zealanders. Department of Conservation, WellingtonGoogle Scholar
  46. Robinson BH, Chiarucci A, Brooks RR, Petit D, Kirkman JH, Gregg PE, De-Dominicis V (1997) The nickel hyperaccumulator plant Alyssum bertolonii as a potential agent for phytoremediation and phytomining of nickel. J Geochem Explor 59:75–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Rugh CL, Wilde HD, Stack NM, Thompson DM, Summers AO, Meagher RB (1996) Mercuric ion reduction and resistance in transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana plants expressing a modified bacterial merA gene. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 93:3182–3187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Ruiz ON, Daniell H (2009) Genitic engineering to enhance mercury phytoremediation. Curr Opin Biotechnol 20:213–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Salem HM, Abdel-Salam A, Abdel-Salam MA, Seleiman MF (2017) Soil xenobiotics and their phyto-chemical remediation. In: Hashmi MZ, Kumar V, Varma A (eds) Xenobiotics in soil environment: monitoring, toxicity and management. Springer, Cham, pp 276–280Google Scholar
  50. Singh A, Fulekar MH (2012) Phytoremediation of heavy metals by Brassica juncea in Aquatic and terrestrial environment. In: Anjum NA, Ahmad I, Pereira ME, Duarte AC, Umar S, Khan NA (eds) The plant family Brassicaceae: contribution towards phytoremediation. Springer, Cham, pp 153–169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Smith B (1993) Remediation update funding the remedy. Waste Manage Environ 249:167–175Google Scholar
  52. Sriprang R, Hayashi M, Yamashita M, Ono H, Saeki K, Murooka Y (2002) A novel bioremediation system for heavy metals using the symbiosis between leguminous plant and genetically engineered rhizobia. J Biotechnol 99:279–293CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Steele MC, Pichtel J (1998) Ex-situ remediation of a metal-contaminated superfund soil using selective extractants. J Environ Eng 124:225–230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Stomp AM, Han KH, Wilbert S, Gordon MP, Cunningham SD (1994) Genetic strategies for enhancing phytoremediation. Ann N Y Acad Sci 721:481–492CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Tangahu BV, Abdullah SR, Basri H, Idris M, Anuar N, Mukhlisin M (2011) A Review on heavy metals (As, Pb, and Hg), uptake by plants through phytoremediation. Int J Chem Eng Appl 2011:30–61Google Scholar
  56. Terry N, Banuelos G (2000) Phytoremediation of contaminated soil and water. Lewis Publ, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  57. Tiwar KK, Dwivedi S, Mishra S, Srivastava S, Tripathi RD, Singh NK, Chakraborty S (2008) Phytoremediation efficiency of Portulaca tuberosa rox and Portulaca oleracea L. naturally growing in an industrial effluent irrigated area in Vadodra, Gujrat, India. Environ Monit Assess 147:15–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Virkutyte J, Sillanpaa M, Latostenmaa P (2002) Electrokinetic soil remediation: critical overview. Sci Total Environ 289:97–121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Vodyanitskii YN (2013) Contamination of soils with heavy metals and metalloids and its ecological hazard (analytic review). Eurasian Soil Sci 46:793–801Google Scholar
  60. Wohrl D (1994) Macromolecular metal complexes: an overview. Macromol Symp 80:1–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Wuana RA, Okieimen FE (2011) Heavy metals in contaminated soils: a review of sources, chemistry, risks and best available strategies for remediation. ISRN Ecol 2011:402647. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Yang H, Nairn J, Ozias-Akins P (2003) Transformation of peanut using a modified bacterial mercuric ion reductase gene driven by an actin promoter from Arabidopsis thaliana. J Plant Physiol 160:945–952CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Yousef KA, Oluwole SO (2009) Heavy metals (Cu, ZN, Pb) contamination of vegetables in urban cities: a case study in Lagos. Res J Environ Sci 30:292–298CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Haythum M. Salem
    • 1
  • Ali Abdel-Salam
    • 1
  • Mohamed A. Abdel-Salam
    • 1
  • Mahmoud F. Seleiman
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of soils and water, Faculty of AgricultureBenha UniversityBanhaEgypt
  2. 2.Department of Crop Sciences, Faculty of AgricultureMenoufia UniversityShibin El-komEgypt
  3. 3.Plant Production Department, College of Food and Agriculture SciencesKing Saud UniversityRiyadhSaudi Arabia

Personalised recommendations