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The potential of phytoremediation technology as a panacea for per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances-contaminated soil

Sahar Naveed, Peter Olusakin Oladoye, Mohammed Kadhom, Mayowa Ezekiel Oladipo, Yakubu Adekunle Alli, and Naveed Anjum

NIAB College, Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences (PIEAS), Faisalabad, Pakistan



Received: 5 July 2023  Accepted: 20 November 2023


Phytoremediation, a process centered on harnessing plant-based mechanisms to eliminate contaminants from soil or water, has proven highly effective in addressing a wide array of pollutants, including heavy metals, petro-hydrocarbons, and organic toxins. However, the urgency escalates when confronting per and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), synthetic compounds extensively utilized in firefighting foams, waterproof textiles, and non-stick coatings. These formidable adversaries pose dire environmental challenges due to their stubborn persistence and alarming tendency to accumulate in living organisms, thus posing severe health hazards. Remarkably, natural hyperaccumulators like sunflowers, potatoes, corn, and cucumbers have shown promise in remediating PFAS-contaminated soil by locking these hazardous substances within their own tissues. Nevertheless, the efficacy of phytoremediation for PFAS-contaminated soil remains contingent on a multitude of influencing factors, including PFAS concentration and types, soil characteristics, and the specific plant species deployed. Moreover, we must grapple with the destiny of PFAS compounds within plant tissues, a factor that can significantly impact both the efficiency of phytoremediation and the potential dangers associated with disposing of harvested plants. Hence, it becomes glaringly evident that acquiring comprehensive data is an absolute imperative, not only to assess the feasibility and efficiency of phytoremediation for PFAS-contaminated sites but also to pinpoint the most suitable plant species for this crucial task. It is of paramount importance to recognize that a solitary approach may fall short of completely eradicating PFAS from the environment. Thus, the integration of diverse techniques, such as microbe-assisted, chelate-assisted, and genetic engineering approaches, becomes indispensable to ensure the utmost effectiveness and comprehensiveness in future phytoremediation endeavors. Our study's findings stand as a beacon of hope in the fight against these tenacious contaminants that threaten our environment and health.

Graphical abstract

Keywords: Emerging pollutants; Treatment; Bioaccumulation; Plants

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.1007/s11696-023-03246-9


Chemical Papers 78 (4) 2079–2099 (2024)

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

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