Phyto-Remediation Using Vetiver
Phyto-Remediation using Vetiver
Phytoremediation using Vetiver is used around the world. Phytoremediation is the process by which living plants clean up soil, water, air contaminated by toxic chemicals. It is a cost-effective strategy to remediate environmental damage. Furthermore, a number of plants, known as hyperaccumulators have the ability to concentrate and detoxify hazardous compounds found in the environment, particularly heavy metals.
There are a range of phytoremediation processes by which plants are able to concentrate, immobilise, breakdown, convert and detoxify chemicals in soil, water, and air.
- Phytoextraction – using plants known as hyperaccumulators, to store high concentrations of contaminants within the plant structure
- Phytovolatilization – removes the contaminant from the soil, through the plant and transpires into the atmosphere
- Phytodegradation – involves the uptake and breakdown of contaminants by the plant into smaller components. Likewise it can also take place in the rhizosphere by substances exuded by the plant
- Phyto-stabilisation – immobilises contaminants in the root zone by preventing their translocation into the roots
- Phyto-containment – reduces the migration of contaminants both on the surface and within the soil, by minimising surface runoff and through interception of soil moisture by plant roots
- Phyto-stimulation – a process linked closely with phytodegradation in the rhizosphere as plants release carbohydrates and acids that stimulate microorganism activity that degrades the organic contaminant
- Rhizo-filtration – involves the removal of dissolved contaminants or excess nutrients through the roots
Phyto- Remediation using Vetiver
Vetiver has been used around the world successfully to bio-remediate contaminated land and water. Firstly, research has shown Vetiver to remove between 13 – 92% of heavy metals ( Truong 2016) and up to 60% of Nitrogen, and 59-85% of Phosphorus from pig farm effluent. Secondly, trials in Mexico demonstrated that using Vetiver to utilise landfill leachate, significantly reduced the amount of leachate requiring
Trials in Mexico demonstrated that Vetiver could absorb landfill leachate. Consequently, the amount of leachate requiring off site process is significantly reduced, along with costs. Vetiver is tolerant of pests, disease, and elevated levels of contaminants, making it eminently suitable in such environments.
Phyto-Remediation using Vetiver in the UK
Sue Rodgers owner and founder of Vetiver Grass UK is conducting a PhD Research Project with the University of Reading into how effective Vetiver will be in the UK at reducing Diffuse Water Pollution. Diffuse Water Pollution causes serious environmental damage to the UK water courses, costing a £1.3 billion per year, some of which we all pay for in our water bills. The PhD research project is looking at how effective Vetiver will be in reducing the amount of excess nutrients reaching watercourses, by absorbing significant levels of Nitrogen and Phosphorus, the primary culprits in causing water pollution.