Phytoremediation aims to reclaim contaminated sites through the exploitation of plant-driven processes, for instance reclaiming industrial areas, mines, landfills, etc. In collaboration with among the most relevant Italian research institutes in the field (CNR-IBAF, Department of Molecular Sciences and Nanosystems of Cà Foscari university of Venice), IRIDRA can assist its client in the reclaim of contaminated sites with phytoremediation techniques. 

IRIDRA - Phytoremediation


  • low investment and O&M costs
  • potential reuse of biomass for energy production
  • reduction of groundwater contamination
  • erosion reduction

Phytoremediation is a technique used for the remediation of contaminated sites, in which the plants are used to extract substances from contaminated soil and sediments and accumulate them in their tissues. Up to 450 plant species were identified as potential metal accumulators in 2010.

The processes used by the phytoremediation are the following.


Contaminant removal processes

Removal process

Target contaminants 


Accumulation in the vegetative tissue, removal by harvesting 

Mostly inorganics 


Degradation within the vegetative tissue, removal by enzymatic plant uptake

Oxidative and nitro-reducer contaminants


Degradation by the microorganisms present in the root rhizosphere 



Contaminant entrapped in the rhizosphere

Metals and organic contaminants 


Volatile contaminants released into the atmosphere

Se, As, Hg, Trichlorethylene, Methyl tert-butyl ether


The interest into the phytoremediation is growth in the last years, leading to highlight a number of potential applications for the remediation of, for instance, dismissed industrial areas, rehabilitation of dismissed industrial areas, querries, landfills, as well as remediation of area interested by episodic contamination, channel sediments or contaminated harbours. Another interesting application is the remediation of "light" polluted peri-urban areas, in order to implement new crops.


The phytoremediation provides several advantages in terms of low costs, use of nature-based  solutions, potential reuse of biomass for energy production, reduction of groundwater contamination, erosion control. The phytoremediation is also characterized by a low environmental impact, which can be used in combination with conventional remediation solutions.

phytoremediation  web

An example of phytoremediation (source CNR-IBAF)

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