Phytoremediation: The Soil Science Behind Hemp
What if I told you that hemp could heal the soil? Well it can, through phytoremediation. This is the process of using living plants to consume and break down environmental pollutants. As the industrial world continues to grow, finding new and innovative ways to eliminate harmful contaminants is crucial.
How does it work?
The process occurs when Cannabis Sativa microbes come in contact with non-native contaminants, such as oils or gasses. This happens via several methods:
- Phytosequestration- absorbtion of pollutants by roots, absorption to the surface of the roots or release of biochemicals.
- Rhizodegradation- simulation of rhizosphere bacteria to increase the rate of biodegredation.
- Phytoextraction- intake of pollutants into the stems and leaves of hemp plants.
In 1986, the Cherynobl Nuclear Power Plant caused an explosion that released radioactive material over an extensive area. Four years later, an environmental assessment was completed and examined high concentrates of toxic metals in nearby soil and plants. The response was to use hemp phytoremediation to reduce soil contamination.
Hemp has the ability to intake heavy metal’s like nickel, cadmium, chromium, and zinc, with very little effect on plant anatomy and morphology. The molecular process of hemp plants minimize cell damage even with a high absorption of heavy metals.
Natural and human imposed disasters are on the rise, but science has found a technology that can heal the natural environment. Phytoremediation is a natural process that is also economical, in reducing high levels of contaminants in said areas. Here is to the future of using hemp as more than just an industrial crop and medicinal product!