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Solid Earth An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Review article
06 Nov 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Solid Earth (SE).
Phytoextraction and the economic perspective of phytomining of heavy metals
Amjad Ali1, Di Guo1, Amanullah Mahar1,2, Wang Ping1, Fazli Wahid3, Feng Shen1, Ronghua Li1, and Zengqiang Zhang1 1College of Natural Resources and Environment, Northwest A&F University, Yangling, 712100, China
2Centre for Environmental Sciences, University of Sindh, Jamshoro, 76080, Pakistan
3Department of Soil and Environmental Sciences, The University of Agriculture, Peshawar, 25130, Pakistan
Abstract. The world rapid growing population, expanding economics and anthropogenic activities contribute to heavy metals pollution, which are non-biodegradable, persistent and threaten the environment. The rising level of heavy metals in environment emphasizes on indigenous technologies, but conventional technologies are too expensive, laborious and result in secondary pollution. Phytoremediation/phytoextraction is a plant based technology, which is environmental friendly, economic and effective for heavy metals remediation. The global market of phytoremediation is 34–54 billion US$ and is expanding in the developed countries, providing an opportunity for this green technology. Suitability of phytoextraction depends on biomass production, accumulation rate and tolerance to target metals. Metals uptake can be enhanced by exploring effective hyperaccumulators, expanding phytomining operations and extending molecular studies on accumulation mechanism, tolerance and sensitivity of heavy metals. Hyperaccumulator plants achieve greater performance at low cost than conventional technologies for in situ metal removal. Phytomining generate revenue and provide new research area for biofortification of food and feed, biofuel and metal rich biochar production in future. This review highlights the sources of heavy metals and its effects on plants, enhancing phytoremediation process and increasing economic benefits of phytomining.
Citation: Ali, A., Guo, D., Mahar, A., Ping, W., Wahid, F., Shen, F., Li, R., and Zhang, Z.: Phytoextraction and the economic perspective of phytomining of heavy metals, Solid Earth Discuss.,, in review, 2017.
Amjad Ali et al.
Amjad Ali et al.
Amjad Ali et al.


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Short summary
The global anthropogenic activities led to heavy metals pollution. Conventional technologies are too expensive, laborious and results in secondary pollution. The green technology like phytoremediation is environmental friendly and economical. The uptake by phytoremediation can be more effective by exploring hyperaccumulators, expanding phytomining and molecular studies. This review is part of compiling the published work on the successful trials of phytoremediation and its economic benefits.
The global anthropogenic activities led to heavy metals pollution. Conventional technologies are...