Arsenic (As) is the one the most toxic element present in earth which poses a serious threat to the environment and human health. Arsenic contamination of drinking water in South and Southeast Asia reported one of the most threatening problems that causes serious health hazard of millions of people of India and Bangladesh. Further, use of arsenic contaminated ground water for irrigation purpose causes entry of arsenic in food crops, especially in Rice and other vegetable crops. Currently various chemical technologies utilized for As removal from contaminated water like adsorption and co-precipitation using salts, activated charcoal, ion exchange, membrane filtration etc. are very costly and cannot be used for large scale for drinking and agriculture use. In contrast, phytoremediation utilizes green plats to remove pollutants from contaminated water using various mechanisms such as rhizofiltration, phytoextraction, phytostabilization, phytodegrartion and phytovolatilization. A large numbers of terrestrial and aquatic weed flora have been identified so far having hyper metal, metalloid and organic pollutant removal capacity. Among the terrestrial weed flora Arundo donax, Typha latifolia, Typha angustifolia, Vetivaria zizinoids etc. are the hyper As accumulator. Similarly Eicchornea crassipes (Water hyacinth), Pistia stratiotes (water lettuce), Lemna minor (duck weed), Hyrdilla verticillata, Ceratophyllum demersum, Spirodella polyrhiza, Azola, Wolfia spp., etc. are also capable to extract higher amount of arsenic from contaminated water. These weed flora having As tolerance mechanism in their system and thus remediate As contaminated water vis-à-vis continue their life cycle. In this chapter we will discuss about As extraction potential of various aquatic and semi aquatic weeds from contaminated water, their tolerance mechanism, future scope and their application in future world mitigating As contamination in water resources.
Part of the book: Biodegradation Technology of Organic and Inorganic Pollutants