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Vol. 171, 2017, Pages: 710–721

Phytoremediation strategies for soils contaminated with heavy metals: Modifications and future perspectives

Nadeem Sarwar, Muhammad Imran, Muhammad Rashid Shaheen, Wajid Ishaque, Muhammad Asif Kamran, Amar Matloob, Abdur Rehim, Saddam Hussain

Nuclear Institute for Agriculture and Biology (NIAB), Faisalabad, Pakistan.


Presence of heavy metals in agricultural soils is of major environmental concern and a great threat to life on the earth. A number of human health risks are associated with heavy metals regarding their entry into food chain. Various physical, chemical and biological techniques are being used to remove heavy metals and metalloids from soils. Among them, phytoremediation is a good strategy to harvest heavy metals from soils and have been proven as an effective and economical technique. In present review, we discussed various sources and harmful effects of some important heavy metals and metalloids, traditional phytoremediation strategies, mechanisms involved in phytoremediation of these metals, limitations and some recent advances in phytoremediation approaches. Since traditional phytoremediation approach poses some limitations regarding their applications at large scale, so there is a dire need to modify this strategy using modern chemical, biological and genetic engineering tools. In view of above, the present manuscript brings both traditional and advanced phytoremediation techniques together in order to compare, understand and apply these strategies effectively to exclude heavy metals from soil keeping in view the economics and effectiveness of phytoremediation strategies.

Keywords: Agricultural soils; Environmental pollution; Heavy metals; Microbes; Phytoremediation.

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