Recent Advances Towards Improved Phytoremediation of Heavy Metal Pollution

From Arabidopsis thaliana to Genetic Engineering for Enhanced Phytoextraction of Soil Heavy Metals

Author(s): David W.M. Leung

Pp: 109-118 (10)

DOI: 10.2174/9781608057870113010009

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


Soils contaminated with toxic levels of heavy metals present serious public health hazards. A potentially green, environmentally friendly and sustainable technology is phytoextraction of soil heavy metals. Naturally occurring metal hyperaccumulating plants have been found in specific metal enriched habitats but they are not suitable for practical phytoextraction purposes. Genetic engineering is a powerful technology to improve the phytoextraction potential of non-hyperaccumulating plants that have many other desirable attributes over the naturally occurring metal hyperaccumulating plants. In this chapter, the utility of Arabidopsis thaliana, a non-hyperaccumulator of heavy metals, to gain novel insights into how the different metal resistance-related genes might operate when plants are exposed to excess soil toxic metals was discussed. It is concluded that use of A. thaliana in this way is very useful to genetic engineering for enhanced phytoextraction of soil heavy metals by non-hyperaccumulating plants.

Keywords: Acyl-CoA-binding proteins (ACBPs), Arabidopsis desaturase 2 gene, Arabidopsis Ethylene-Insensitive 2 gene, AtABCC1, AtABCC2, AtATM3, AtPDR8, AtPRD12, Brassica juncea, efflux pumping, ethylmethane sulfonate (EMS) mutagenesis, genetic engineering, GSH1, health hazard, knockout plants, metal resistance, mutant isolation, mutant screen, phytochelatin synthase (PC synthase), plasma membrane, transgenic plants.

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