Phytoremediation Potential of Fast-Growing Energy Plants: Challenges and Perspectives – a Review
Martin Hauptvogl 1  
,   Marián Kotrla 2  
,   Martin Prčík 1  
,   Žaneta Pauková 3  
,   Marián Kováčik 4  
,   Tomáš Lošák 5  
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Department of Environmental Management, Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra, Slovakia
Department of Regional Bioenergetics, Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra, Slovakia
Department of Regional Bioenergetics , Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra, Slovakia
Department of EU Policies, Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra, Slovakia
Department of Environmentalistics and Natural Resources, Mendel University in Brno, Czech Republic
Martin Hauptvogl   

Slovak University of Agriculture
Submission date: 2018-07-23
Final revision date: 2018-10-31
Acceptance date: 2018-12-15
Online publication date: 2019-09-10
Publication date: 2019-12-09
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2020;29(1):505–516
Contamination of soil by toxic elements is a global issue of growing importance due to the increased anthropogenic impact on the natural environment. Conventional methods of soil decontamination possess disadvantages in forms of environmental and financial burdens. This fact leads to the search for alternative approaches of remediation of contaminated sites. One such approach includes phytoremediation. Phytoremediation advantages consist of low costs and small environmental impact. Several fast-growing energy plant species are suitable for phytoremediation purposes. Our article focuses on the phytoremediation potential of energy woody crops of Salix and Populus, and energy grasses Miscanthus and Arundo, which are grown primarily for biomass production. This approach links the environmentally friendly and economically less demanding remediation approach with the production of the local sustainable form of energy that decreases dependency on external energy supplies. Energy plants are able to provide high biomass yields in a short period of time, they are resistant against abiotic stress conditions and have the ability to accumulate toxic substances, thus helping to restore the desirable soil properties. The phytoremediation research is very interdisciplinary in its nature. In order to implement phytoremediation practices together with bioenergy successfully, it is crucial to involve site owners, local people, farmers, technology providers and consultants, remediation experts, sustainability assessors, regulatory agencies and certification bodies, biorefineries, financial sponsors, NGOs and other voluntary organizations. Some disadvantages and challenges of phytoremediation are also indicated.