Russian scientists discovered amazing properties of wheat and wheatgrass. It turns out that they can cleanse the soil from toxic metals. The discovery was made by the specialists from the Department of Soil Science and Ecology of St. Petersburg University. A researcher Irina Shtangeeva studied the ability of these two species to accumulate toxic substances.
The plants have the ability to absorb various chemical elements from contaminated soils. Both wheat and wheatgrass accumulate very high concentrations of toxins. Thus, they remove them from the surface layers of the soil.
The scientists consider it possible to use this exceptional ability for effective soil cleaning. The main traditional phytoremediation method is used for wastewater treatment and wastewater disinfection. The green plants play a key role in the complex of these activities.
One of the directions of the purification method is phytoextraction. With its help, toxic microelements are removed from the contaminated soils. Hyperaccumulating plants are responsible for that process. The method is inexpensive and does not destroy the soil.
However, usually one such plant is capable for accumulating only one element in its aerial parts. Irina Shtangeeva believes that the search for new plants that can accumulate one metal can lead to a dead end. It is explained by the fact that usually the soil is contaminated with more than one element.
For the successful use of the phytoremediation method, it is important to find such plants that will accumulate a large amount of various toxic elements in the aerial parts without significant damage to plant development. The experiments, that were made with wheat and wheatgrass, were proven promising.
With their help, the scientists expect to restore the soil. The researchers believe that wheat can survive in the most adverse conditions, while accumulating toxins from the ground. Wheatgrass is a type of weed that also has an increased survival rate and the ability to accumulate a large amount of various trace elements.