Improved Bioremediation of Soils Contaminated with Toxic Metals Using Transgenic Plants Overexpressing Phytochelatan Synthetase


There are currently few satisfactory choices for the rectification of toxic or radioactive metal contamination of soils. On a small scale contaminated areas may be restored by physical removal of surface layers followed by appropriate disposition (usually remote burial) of the material and re-landscaping to restore the site. On a large scale this approach is infeasible and the alternative is to abandon the land for a prolonged period or permanently restricting access or uses. The current invention offers a means of safely and economically depleting soils of metal contaminants through a bioremediation approach that preserves the original structure of the land and eventually restores its utility.


This method of bioremediation is of particular use in removing heavy metals and certain radioactive metals that could be associated with industrial or nuclear mishap contamination of wide areas. Bioremediation systems using plants are often restricted to certain species -- this approach allows the combining of the most suitable plant for the task/environment with over expression of the high-capacity metal uptake transporter.

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