Phytoremediation of Heavy Metals using Poplars (Populus spp): A Glimpse of the Plant Responses to Copper, Cadmium and Zinc Stress pp. 387-414
Authors: (Fernando Guerra, Felipe Gainza, Ramón Pérez, Francisco Zamudio, Departamento de Ciencias Forestales, Universidad Católica del Maule, Talca, Chile, and others)
Abstract: Heavy metals (HMs) as such as cadmium (Cd), copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) have been widespread in soils by human activities (for example, mining, smelting and agriculture). These metals can affect the environmental quality and the health of people. The risk associated to their occurrence and the possibility to cleanup them using phytoremediation systems is increasing the interest for understanding the biological basis of metal tolerance and accumulation process in plants. Species belonging to the Populus genus (poplars) are suitable candidates for phytoremediation. These trees have a high biomass production, extensive roots, high rates of transpiration and easy propagation. Also, the wide genetic diversity comprised within this genus and the development of multiple biotechnologies and information resources allow a genetic improvement based on traditional and biotechnological approaches. Studies carried out in different experimental conditions show that poplars exposed to Cu, Cd and Zn exhibit distinct tolerance levels and metal accumulation patterns. This response depends on specific genotypes. Some of them have been proposed as candidate for phytostabilization and phytoextraction.