Phytotechnologies: current status and future challenges


The degradation of the environment, increased urbanization, global energy demand growth, and climate change, constitute some of the main problems humans are facing today. Furthermore, anthropogenic activities have contributed to the contamination of natural resources due to the generation, emission and deposition of organic and inorganic pollutants. In this sense, a set of technologies based on the use of plants (phytotechnologies), have conquered great visibility because they offer ecological and sustainable solutions to mitigate these problems. This review summarizes the current status of the main types of phytotechnologies, from which phytoremediation, phytomining, biomass for energy generation, and green roofs, stand out. In addition, this work also presents some of the future challenges of phytotechnologies, such as their optimization through advanced gene editing techniques or their combination with nanotechnologies.


Download data is not yet available.


Ali, H.; Khan, E.; Sajad, M.A. 2013. Phytoremediation of heavy metals—Concepts and applications. Chemosphere, 91(7): 869-881.
Anderson, C.W.; Brooks, R.; Chiarucci, a; LaCoste, C.; Leblanc, M.; Robinson, B..; Stewart, R. 1999. Phytomining for nickel, thallium and gold. Journal of Geochemical Exploration, 67(1-3): 407-415.
Bahng, M.K.; Mukarakate, C.; Robichaud, D.J.; Nimlos, M.R. 2009. Current technologies for analysis of biomass thermochemical processing: a review. Analytica Chimica Acta, 651: 117-138.
Bani, A.; Pavlova, D.; Echevarria, G.; Mullaj, A.; Reeves, R.D.; Morel, J.L.; Sulçe, S. 2010. Nickel hyperaccumulation by the species of Alyssum and Thlaspi (Brassicaceae) from the ultramafic soils of the Balkans. Botanica Serbica, 34(1): 3-14.
Bech, J.; Duran, P.; Roca, N.; Poma, W.; Sánchez, I.; Barceló, J.; Poschenrieder, C. 2012. Shoot accumulation of several trace elements in native plant species from contaminated soils in the Peruvian Andes. Journal of Geochemical Exploration, 113: 106-111.
Berardi, U.; GhaffarianHoseini, A.; GhaffarianHoseini, A. 2014. State-of-the-art analysis of the environmental benefits of green roofs. Applied Energy, 115: 411-428.
Bernardino, C.A.R.; Mahler, C.F.; Preussler, K.H.; Novo, L.A.B. 2016. State of the Art of Phytoremediation in Brazil. Review and Perspectives. Water, Air, & Soil Pollution, 227: 272.
Bernardino, C.A.R.; Mahler, C.F.; Veloso, M.C.C.; Romeiro, G.A. 2017. Preparation of Biochar from Sugarcane By-product Filter Mud by Slow Pyrolysis and Its Use Like Adsorbent. Waste and Biomass Valorization, 8(7): 2511-2521.
Besir, A.B.; Cuce, E. 2018. Green roofs and facades: A comprehensive review. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 82: 915-939.
Boyd, R.S.; Davis, M.A.; Balkwill, K. 2008. Elemental patterns in Ni hyperaccumulating and non-hyperaccumulating ultramafic soil populations of Senecio coronatus. South African Journal of Botany, 74(1): 158-162.
Braeuer, S.; Goessler, W.; Kameník, J.; Konvalinková, T.; Žigová, A.; Borovička, J. 2018. Arsenic hyperaccumulation and speciation in the edible ink stain bolete (Cyanoboletus pulverulentus). Food Chemistry, 242(June 2017): 225-231.
Calijuri, M. do C.; Cunha, D.G.F. 2013. Engenharia Ambiental: conceitos, tecnologia e gestão. Rio de Janeiro: Elsevier.
Castleton, H.F.; Stovin, V.; Beck, S.B.M.; Davison, J.B. 2010. Green roofs; building energy savings and the potential for retrofit. Energy and Buildings, 42(10): 1582–1591.
CONAB. 2017. Acompanhamento da Safra Brasileira da Cana-de- açúcar - Safra 2017/2018. Companhia Nacional de Abastecimento (Vol. 4).
Cortez, L.A.B.; Lora, E.E.S.; Gómez, E.O. 2008. Biomassa para energia. São Paulo: Unicamp.
European Environment Agency. 2015. Progress in management of contaminated sites. European Environment Agency.
Ghaderian, S.M.; Ghotbi Ravandi, A.A. 2012. Accumulation of copper and other heavy metals by plants growing on Sarcheshmeh copper mining area, Iran. Journal of Geochemical Exploration, 123: 25-32.
Ha, N.T.H.; Sakakibara, M.; Sano, S.; Nhuan, M.T. 2011. Uptake of metals and metalloids by plants growing in a lead-zinc mine area, Northern Vietnam. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 186(2-3): 1384-1391.
Hooke, R.L.; Martín-Duque, J.F. 2012. Land transformation by humans: A review. GSA Today, 12(12): 4-10.
Ibp. 2015. Evolução da produção de energia primária no Brasil.
Karami, N.; Clemente, R.; Moreno-Jiménez, E.; Lepp, N.W.; Beesley, L. 2011. Efficiency of green waste compost and biochar soil amendments for reducing lead and copper mobility and uptake to ryegrass. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 191: 41-48.
Koelmel, J.; Prasad, M.N. V.; Pershell, K. 2015. Bibliometric Analysis of Phytotechnologies for Remediation: Global Scenario of Research and Applications. International Journal of Phytoremediation, 17(2): 145-153.
Kumar, A.; Kumar, N.; Baredar, P.; Shukla, A. 2015. A review on biomass energy resources, potential, conversion and policy in India. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 45: 530-539.
Lai, Y.; Wang, Q.; Yan, W.; Yang, L.; Huang, B. 2005. Preliminary study of the enrichment and fractionation of REEs in a newly discovered REE hyperaccumulator Pronephrium simplex by SEC-ICP-MS and MALDI-TOF/ESI-MS. Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, 20(8): 751-753.
Li, W.C.; Yeung, K.K.A. 2014. A comprehensive study of green roof performance from environmental perspective. International Journal of Sustainable Built Environment, 3: 127-134.
Liu, J.; Shang, W.; Zhang, X.; Zhu, Y.; Yu, K. 2014. Mn accumulation and tolerance in Celosia argentea Linn.: A new Mn-hyperaccumulating plant species. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 267: 136-141.
Naseem, S.; Bashir, E.; Shireen, K.; Shafiq, S. 2009. Soil-plant relationship of Pteropyrum olivieri, a serpentine flora of Wadh, Balochistan, Pakistan and its use in mineral prospecting. Studia Universitatis Babes-Bolyai, Geologia, 54(2): 33-39.
Novo, L.A.B.; Castro, P.M.L.; Alvarenga, P.; da Silva, E.F. 2017. Phytomining of Rare and Valuable Metals. In A. A. Ansari, S. S. Gill, R. Gill, G. R. Lanza, & L. Newman (Eds.), Phytoremediation - Management of Environmental Contaminants, 5: 469-486. Cham: Springer International Publishing.
Novo, L.A.B.; Mahler, C.F.; González, L. 2015. Plants to harvest rhenium: scientific and economic viability. Environmental Chemistry Letters, 13(4): 439–445. DOI:
Pandey, V.C.; Bajpai, O.; Singh, N. 2016. Energy crops in sustainable phytoremediation. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 54: 58-73.
Pechony, O.; Shindell, D.T. 2010. Driving forces of global wildfires over the past millennium and the forthcoming century. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(45): 19167-19170.
Peijnenburg, W.J.G.M.; Jager, T. 2003. Monitoring approaches to assess bioaccessibility and bioavailability of metals: Matrix issues. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 56: 63-77.
Piccinin, R.C.R.; Ebbs, S.D.; Reichman, S.M.; Kolev, S.D.; Woodrow, I.E.; Baker, A.J.M. 2007. A screen of some native Australian flora and exotic agricultural species for their potential application in cyanide-induced phytoextraction of gold. Minerals Engineering, 20(14): 1327-1330.
Pollard, A.J.; Stewart, H.L.; Roberson, C.B. 2009. Manganese Hyperaccumulation in Phytolacca americana L. from the Southeastern United States. Northeastern Naturalist, 16(5): 155-162.
Prasad, M.N.V.; Freitas, H.; Fraenzle, S.; Wuenschmann, S.; Markert, B. 2010. Knowledge explosion in phytotechnologies for environmental solutions. Environmental Pollution, 158(1): 18-23.
Pratas, J.; Favas, P.J.C.; D’Souza, R.; Varun, M.; Paul, M.S. 2013. Phytoremedial assessment of flora tolerant to heavy metals in the contaminated soils of an abandoned Pb mine in Central Portugal. Chemosphere, 90(8): 2216–2225. DOI:
Ramos, L.P.; Kothe, V.; César-Oliveira, M.A.F.; Muniz-Wypych, A.S.; Nakagaki, S.; Krieger, N.; Cordeiro, C.S. 2017. Biodiesel: Raw Materials, Production Technologies and Fuel Properties. Revista Virtual de Química, 9(1): 317-369.
Rezania, S.; Taib, S.M.; Md Din, M.F.; Dahalan, F.A.; Kamyab, H. 2016. Comprehensive review on phytotechnology: Heavy metals removal by diverse aquatic plants species from wastewater. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 318: 587-599.
Sidhu, G.P.S.; Singh, H.P.; Batish, D.R.; Kohli, R.K. 2017. Tolerance and hyperaccumulation of cadmium by a wild, unpalatable herb Coronopus didymus (L.) Sm. (Brassicaceae). Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 135: 209-215.
Tripathi, V.; Edrisi, S.A.; Abhilash, P.C. 2016. Towards the coupling of phytoremediation with bioenergy production. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 57: 1386-1389.
Usman, A.R.A.; Lee, S.S.; Awad, Y.M.; Lim, K.J.; Yang, J.E.; Ok, Y.S. 2012. Soil pollution assessment and identification of hyperaccumulating plants in chromated copper arsenate (CCA) contaminated sites, Korea. Chemosphere, 87(8): 872-878.
Van der Ent, A.; Baker, A.J.M.; Reeves, R.D.; Chaney, R.L.; Anderson, C.W.N.; Meech, J.A.; Mulligan, D.R. 2015. Agromining: Farming for Metals in the Future? Environmental Science & Technology, 49(8): 4773-4780.
Van der Ent, A.; Baker, A.J.M.; Reeves, R.D.; Pollard, a. J.; Schat, H. 2013. Hyperaccumulators of metal and metalloid trace elements: Facts and fiction. Plant and Soil, 362(1-2): 319-334.
Vijayaraghavan, K. 2016. Green roofs: A critical review on the role of components, benefits, limitations and trends. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 57: 740-752.
Watson, J.; Zhang, Y.; Si, B.; Chen, W.T.; de Souza, R. 2018. Gasification of biowaste: A critical review and outlooks. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 83: 1-17.
White, P.J. 2016. Selenium accumulation by plants. Annals of Botany, 117(2): 217-235.
Xiao, M.; Lin, Y.; Han, J.; Zhang, G. 2014. A review of green roof research and development in China. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 40: 633-648.
Zhao, G.Q.; Ma, B.L.; Ren, C.Z. 2007. Growth, gas exchange, chlorophyll fluorescence, and ion content of naked oat in response to salinity. Crop Science, 47(1): 123-131.
How to Cite
BERNARDINO, Cassiano Augusto Rolim et al. Phytotechnologies: current status and future challenges. Acta Brasiliensis, [S.l.], v. 2, n. 2, p. 63-68, may 2018. ISSN 2526-4338. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 24 jan. 2020. doi: