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Phytoremediation, the use of plants to remediate environmental media, is being pursued as a new approach for the cleanup of contaminated soils and waters, including groundwater. It is the use of plants to partially or substantially remediate selected contaminants in soil, sludge, sediment, groundwater, surface water and wastewater. The word phytoremedition comes from the Greek word phyto meaning ?plant? and the Latin word remediare meaning ?to remedy?. It utilizes a variety of plant biological processes and the physical characteristics of plants to aid in-site remediation. Phytoremediation has also been called green remediation, botano remediation, agro remediation and vegetative remediation. This technique could provide cost effective methods of remediating soils and ground water contaminated with metals, radio nuclides and various types of organics with fewer secondary wastes and less environmental impact that would be generated using traditional remediation methods. All plants extract necessary nutrients, including metals, from their soil and water environments. Some plants, called hyper accumulators, have the ability to store large amounts of metals, even some metals that do not appear to be required for plant functioning. In addition, plants can take up various organic chemicals from environmental media and degrade or otherwise process them for use in their physiological processes. Phytoremediation technologies are in the early stages of development, with laboratory research and limited field trials being conducted to determine processes and refine methods. Additional research, including genetic engineering, is being conducted to improve the natural capabilities of plants to perform remediation functions and to investigate other plants with potential.

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