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United States Environmental Protection Agency
Phytoremediation: The Potential is Growing
Sponsored by: National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Superfund Basic Research Program
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Presentation Overview:

The Superfund Basic Research Program (SBRP), in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation (OSRTI) presents "Phytoremediation." This series of online seminars will focus on the science of incorporating phytoremediation into hazardous waste site remediation plans.

This, the first of three sessions, will feature Dr. David Tsao, BP Corporation North America, Inc. and Dr. Jerald Schnoor, SBRP-University of Iowa.

Dr. Tsao's presentation will provide an overview of phytotechnologies, a broad set of technologies that utilize plant-derived processes to remediate or contain contaminants in soil, sediments, surface, or groundwater. The various applications of phytotechnologies have become attractive alternatives to conventional cleanup technologies due to relatively low capital costs, the inherently aesthetic nature of planted sites, and many other advantages. Dr. Tsao will also touch on the limitations that need to be considered when evaluating the use of phytotechnologies for site-specific applications.

Dr. Schnoor's presentation will focus on plant degradation of airborne PCB congeners, a potential in situ treatment PCBs in soils and groundwater. Laboratory experiments have shown that plants take up PCBs from the hydroponic solution and transform them to hydroxyl-metabolites and dechlorinated PCBs. Dr. Schnoor will describe the green liver model, which explains the fate of organic contaminants inside plant tissues, and will focus on the three phases of PCB metabolism. He will also introduce poplar experiments designed to confirm which genes are responsible for PCB metabolism as well as studies that identify endophytic bacteria and rhizosphere microorganisms that increase the rate of PCB degradation.

The session will be moderated by Kris Geller, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, who is team leader of the "Phytotechnologies Technical Team" for the Interstate Technology & Regulatory Council (ITRC).

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