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What is phytoremediation and how it can be used to clean up the environment? Why is...

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iza-a | eNoter

Posted October 15, 2013 at 4:21 PM via web

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What is phytoremediation and how it can be used to clean up the environment? Why is studying genomes of organisms involved in  bioremediation an active area of research?

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ncchemist | eNotes Employee

Posted October 15, 2013 at 5:32 PM (Answer #1)

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Let's define both terms.  Bioremediation is using natural organisms to naturally clean up pollutants in a natural setting.  Usually this means microbes like bacteria.  Phytoremediation is a subset of bioremediation.  Since phyto is the Greek word for plant, this means using plants as the natural organism to clean up a pollutant in a natural setting.  The plants will take up the pollutant through their root systems as part of absorbing water and nutrients and their own internal biochemistry will chemically alter and neutralize the pollutant to convert it into a less harmful substance.

Genomic research for bioremediation is an ongoing area of academic and industrial research to try and find new genetic strains of plants and bacteria that will improve upon their remediation properties.  Newer, more efficient genetic strains of bioremediation organisms will make them more cost effective and more likely to be used to help clean up natural disasters rather than other chemical cleaners that can prove environmentally problematic.

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