chapter  2
Hyperaccumulator versus Nonhyperaccumulator Plants for Environmental Waste Management
ByRam Chandra, Vineet Kumar, Kshitij Singh
Pages 38

The ecosystem is deteriorated by various processes, such as the continuous addition of organic and inorganic waste of industries. Improper waste management practices have led to a discharge of effluents and sludge from industries, the vicinity of agricultural land that consequently resulted in metal contamination of agricultural fields. Therefore, the restoration of metal-contaminated sites is one of the most important environmental issues. Phytoextraction is a promising, economical, green, and eco-friendly means of removing heavy metals from contaminated soil, especially in cases where conventional technologies are not efficient, not possible, or too expensive. During the remediation process, these toxic elements are extracted or stabilized by plants and metabolized in their tissues. The hyperaccumulator plants actively take up exceedingly large amounts of one or more heavy metals from the soil. The heavy metals are not retained in the roots but are translocated to the shoot and accumulated in aboveground organs, especially leaves, at concentrations 100–1000-fold higher than those found in non-hyperaccumulating species. Over 450 plant species, including tree, vegetable crop, grasses, and weeds are identified as hyperaccumulators. Naturally existing “hyperaccumulators” tend to be small and have low biomass production. Increased heavy metal tolerance and accumulation capacity could be conferred in plants by using crop plants or trees with high biomass and a strong ability to adapt to the environment, making it a suitable target species for phytoremediation, but the used parts of these plants should be prohibited for use as food and fodder due to the health hazards of various heavy metals. This chapter provides a view of the recent progress made toward the role of hyperaccumulator and non-hyperaccumulator plants in accelerating phytoremediation capabilities of heavy metals and their potential use in environmental cleanup for sustainable development.