Open Access Review Article

Phytoextraction of Lead: Its Feasibility, Constraints and Concerns

Kuok Ho Daniel Tang

Asian Soil Research Journal, Page 1-9
DOI: 10.9734/asrj/2021/v5i430113

Aims: With lead being one of the most common soil contaminants and phytoextraction has been reported as a prospective method for remediation of lead-contaminated soil, this review aims to examine the feasibility of lead phytoextraction as well as its constraints and concerns.

Study Design:  This is a literature review.

Methodology: Peer-reviewed papers were sourced from scholarly databases. The papers included in the review were mainly those about phytoextraction of lead, particularly with the shoot, soil and root concentrations of lead mentioned as well as the bioconcentration and translocation factors stated. Besides, papers discussing the limits, for instance, the duration of lead phytoextraction, and concerns of the approach were also included.

Results: This review found only 11 plants have been reported to accumulate lead in shoots at nominal threshold of near or above 1,000 mg Pb/kg dry weight and in certain cases, soil amendment was required to achieve this. Only two of the plants had bioconcentration factor > 1 and another two had translocation factor > 1. None of the plants fulfilled all three criteria of a successful hyperaccumulator, indicating the constraints and a lack of feasibility of lead phytoextraction. Besides, lead phytoextraction has been predicted to require significant amount of time, hence increasing the risk of exposure to lead.

Conclusion: This review highlights that lead phytoextraction may not be feasible for the remediation of lead-contaminated soil. It recommends phytostabilization as a more viable alternative to immobilize lead in rhizosphere and reduce lead exposure.