Cleaning up contaminated ground with… plants?

How much lead could a plant suck up if a plant could suck up lead?

Well, research into an area called phytoremediation indicate that more than 500 plant species can absborb soil and water contaiminants up into their root systems.

The threshold of absorption varies amongst plant species, but utilising plants for their ability to suck up contaminents might not only result in the recovery and re-use of valuable metals, but replace unsustainable practices of land clearing such as excavation.


  • Dr Megan Phillips – Lecturer in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Technology Sydney

Image: Daniela on Flickr.

Producer: Jake Morcom.

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