Plants help remove heavy metals from contaminated soil • Earth.com

Plants help remove heavy metals from contaminated soil

06-04-2022

Today’s Video of the Day from NTU Singapore reveals that some plants can remove toxic heavy metals from soil. 

The researchers analyzed samples of various tropical plant species to test for levels of heavy metals and metalloids. The study showed that there are existing plants with high levels of these contaminants, which means that these species are great candidates for drawing pollutants out of the soil. 

Among the plants examined in the study, 12 species had accumulated several types of heavy metals and metalloids. These plants are widely available, including species that are native to Singapore.

“In a small nation like Singapore, land may be repurposed to support new development plans, so it is important that we have a green and sustainable way to remediate land that is contaminated,” said Professor Lam Yeng Ming.

“We set out to uncover how to better make use of tropical plants to do phytoremediation and through advanced characterization techniques, we showed how some of these tropical plant species can be an environmentally friendly and literally a ‘green’ way to remove contaminants in soil.” 

“Phytoremediation also has benefits of cost effectiveness, simplicity of management, aesthetic advantages, and long-term applicability and sustainability. The strategy prevents erosion and metal leaching by stabilizing or accumulating heavy metals, so that helps reduce the risk of contaminant spread.”

Video Credit: NTU Singapore

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer

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