Phytoremediation of mine tailings in temperate and arid environments

Monica O. Mendez, Raina Margaret Maier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

196 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Phytoremediation is an emerging technology for the remediation of mine tailings, a global problem for which conventional remediation technologies are costly. There are two approaches to phytoremediation of mine tailings, phytoextraction and phytostabilization. Phytoextraction involves translocation of heavy metals from mine tailings to the plant shoot biomass followed by plant harvest, while phytostabilization focuses on establishing a vegetative cap that does not shoot accumulate metals but rather immobilizes metals within the tailings. Phytoextraction is currently limited by low rates of metal removal which is a combination of low biomass production and insufficiently high metal uptake into plant tissue. Phytostabilization is currently limited by a lack of knowledge of the minimum amendments required (e.g., compost, irrigation) to support long-term plant establishment. This review addresses both strategies within the context of two specific climate types: temperate and arid. In temperate environments, mine tailings are a source of metal leachates and acid mine drainage that contaminate nearby waterways. Mine tailings in arid regions are subject to eolian dispersion and water erosion. Examples of phytoremediation within each of these environments are discussed. Current research suggests that phytoextraction, due to high implementation costs and long time frames, will be limited to sites that have high land values and for which metal removal is required. Phytostabilization, due to lower costs and easier implementation, will be a more commonly used approach. Complete restoration of mining sites is an unlikely outcome for either approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-59
Number of pages13
JournalReviews in Environmental Science and Biotechnology
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2008

Fingerprint

temperate environment
Environmental Biodegradation
Tailings
arid environment
phytoremediation
tailings
Metals
metal
Remediation
Biomass
remediation
shoot
Plant Shoots
Technology
Costs and Cost Analysis
Arid regions
water erosion
acid mine drainage
biomass
Heavy Metals

Keywords

  • Arid
  • Halophytes
  • Hyperaccumulators
  • Mine tailings
  • Phytoextraction
  • Phytoremediation
  • Phytostabilization
  • Semi-arid
  • Temperate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Biotechnology

Cite this

Phytoremediation of mine tailings in temperate and arid environments. / Mendez, Monica O.; Maier, Raina Margaret.

In: Reviews in Environmental Science and Biotechnology, Vol. 7, No. 1, 01.2008, p. 47-59.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{abe9dfc50add4109a6d6fcd0d4bed458,
title = "Phytoremediation of mine tailings in temperate and arid environments",
abstract = "Phytoremediation is an emerging technology for the remediation of mine tailings, a global problem for which conventional remediation technologies are costly. There are two approaches to phytoremediation of mine tailings, phytoextraction and phytostabilization. Phytoextraction involves translocation of heavy metals from mine tailings to the plant shoot biomass followed by plant harvest, while phytostabilization focuses on establishing a vegetative cap that does not shoot accumulate metals but rather immobilizes metals within the tailings. Phytoextraction is currently limited by low rates of metal removal which is a combination of low biomass production and insufficiently high metal uptake into plant tissue. Phytostabilization is currently limited by a lack of knowledge of the minimum amendments required (e.g., compost, irrigation) to support long-term plant establishment. This review addresses both strategies within the context of two specific climate types: temperate and arid. In temperate environments, mine tailings are a source of metal leachates and acid mine drainage that contaminate nearby waterways. Mine tailings in arid regions are subject to eolian dispersion and water erosion. Examples of phytoremediation within each of these environments are discussed. Current research suggests that phytoextraction, due to high implementation costs and long time frames, will be limited to sites that have high land values and for which metal removal is required. Phytostabilization, due to lower costs and easier implementation, will be a more commonly used approach. Complete restoration of mining sites is an unlikely outcome for either approach.",
keywords = "Arid, Halophytes, Hyperaccumulators, Mine tailings, Phytoextraction, Phytoremediation, Phytostabilization, Semi-arid, Temperate",
author = "Mendez, {Monica O.} and Maier, {Raina Margaret}",
year = "2008",
month = "1",
doi = "10.1007/s11157-007-9125-4",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "7",
pages = "47--59",
journal = "Reviews in Environmental Science and Biotechnology",
issn = "1569-1705",
publisher = "Springer Netherlands",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Phytoremediation of mine tailings in temperate and arid environments

AU - Mendez, Monica O.

AU - Maier, Raina Margaret

PY - 2008/1

Y1 - 2008/1

N2 - Phytoremediation is an emerging technology for the remediation of mine tailings, a global problem for which conventional remediation technologies are costly. There are two approaches to phytoremediation of mine tailings, phytoextraction and phytostabilization. Phytoextraction involves translocation of heavy metals from mine tailings to the plant shoot biomass followed by plant harvest, while phytostabilization focuses on establishing a vegetative cap that does not shoot accumulate metals but rather immobilizes metals within the tailings. Phytoextraction is currently limited by low rates of metal removal which is a combination of low biomass production and insufficiently high metal uptake into plant tissue. Phytostabilization is currently limited by a lack of knowledge of the minimum amendments required (e.g., compost, irrigation) to support long-term plant establishment. This review addresses both strategies within the context of two specific climate types: temperate and arid. In temperate environments, mine tailings are a source of metal leachates and acid mine drainage that contaminate nearby waterways. Mine tailings in arid regions are subject to eolian dispersion and water erosion. Examples of phytoremediation within each of these environments are discussed. Current research suggests that phytoextraction, due to high implementation costs and long time frames, will be limited to sites that have high land values and for which metal removal is required. Phytostabilization, due to lower costs and easier implementation, will be a more commonly used approach. Complete restoration of mining sites is an unlikely outcome for either approach.

AB - Phytoremediation is an emerging technology for the remediation of mine tailings, a global problem for which conventional remediation technologies are costly. There are two approaches to phytoremediation of mine tailings, phytoextraction and phytostabilization. Phytoextraction involves translocation of heavy metals from mine tailings to the plant shoot biomass followed by plant harvest, while phytostabilization focuses on establishing a vegetative cap that does not shoot accumulate metals but rather immobilizes metals within the tailings. Phytoextraction is currently limited by low rates of metal removal which is a combination of low biomass production and insufficiently high metal uptake into plant tissue. Phytostabilization is currently limited by a lack of knowledge of the minimum amendments required (e.g., compost, irrigation) to support long-term plant establishment. This review addresses both strategies within the context of two specific climate types: temperate and arid. In temperate environments, mine tailings are a source of metal leachates and acid mine drainage that contaminate nearby waterways. Mine tailings in arid regions are subject to eolian dispersion and water erosion. Examples of phytoremediation within each of these environments are discussed. Current research suggests that phytoextraction, due to high implementation costs and long time frames, will be limited to sites that have high land values and for which metal removal is required. Phytostabilization, due to lower costs and easier implementation, will be a more commonly used approach. Complete restoration of mining sites is an unlikely outcome for either approach.

KW - Arid

KW - Halophytes

KW - Hyperaccumulators

KW - Mine tailings

KW - Phytoextraction

KW - Phytoremediation

KW - Phytostabilization

KW - Semi-arid

KW - Temperate

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=38049006641&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=38049006641&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/s11157-007-9125-4

DO - 10.1007/s11157-007-9125-4

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:38049006641

VL - 7

SP - 47

EP - 59

JO - Reviews in Environmental Science and Biotechnology

JF - Reviews in Environmental Science and Biotechnology

SN - 1569-1705

IS - 1

ER -