Rhizofiltration: A New Technology to Remove Heavy Metals From Aqueous Streams

Ensley, Burt ; Dushenkov, Viatcheslav ; Raskin, Ilya ; Salt, David E.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 4
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1995
Roots of many hydroponically grown terrestrial plants, including sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) effectively remove toxic metals such as Cu+2, Cd+2, Cr+6, Ni+2, Pb+2 and Zn+2 2 from aqueous solutions. It should be possible to scale up this process such that plant roots can be used to treat large volume aqueous waste streams. It can be extrapolated from laboratory results that to reduce the Cd concentration in a waste stream, from 1 ppm to below 4 ppb, with a flow rate of 4000 L/min, would require 3500 sq. m of plant roots with a density 5 kg fresh weight per sq. m. These results suggest that the roots of hydroponically grown terrestrial plants may provide an attractive alternative to the accepted water treatment technologies.
Full Article Download:
(182 kb)