Phytoremediation

Using μPIXE and synchrotron XANES and XRF to determine speciation and localization of metals in plant tissues.Phytoremediation is the use of plants to remove contaminants from the soil. Plants that accumulate metals in their above-ground biomass can be harvested thus removing the metals from the soil.

Our current research examines:

  • the physiological and biochemical mechanisms in soil and plant for heavy metal uptake and hyperaccumulation
  • tolerance and accumulation potential of a variety of plants to soil contaminated with heavy-metals
  • fertilization as an agronomic method to enhance hyperaccumulation.
Screening of potential plant species for phytoextraction of landfills polluted by multiple heavy metals.  

Contributors: Dr Alison Monsant, Dr Wuxing Liu, Eric Zhang, Associate Professor Peter Sale, Professor Caixian Tang.

Collaborators: Dr Peter Kappen (LTU Physics), Professor Spas Kolev and Dr Augustine Doronila (Melbourne University), Professors Yongming Luo, Longhua Wu and Shuhe Wei (Chinese Academy of Sciences), Dr Yaodong Wang (iThemba LABS).

Funded projects:

  • Phytoextraction approaches for mitigating heavy metal release from unlined and loosely capped rural landfills (Funded by Australian Research Council)
  • Use of microPIXE for cellular localisation and elemental mapping of zinc and cadmium in the leaves of Zn/Cd-hyperaccumulating plants (Funded by AINSE)
  • Zinc speciation and localization using XANES and XRF (Funded by the Australian Synchrotron)

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