Phytoremediation is use of plants to remove contaminants from soil and water. Natural phytoremediation is carried out by mangroves, estuarine vegetation and other wetland vegetation.
Phytoextraction/phytoaccumulation: plants accumulate contaminants into the roots and aboveground shoots or leaves.
Phytotransformation/phytodegradation: uptake of organic contaminants from soil, and their transformation to more stable, less toxic, less mobile form.
Phytostabilization: plants reduce the mobility and migration of contaminated soil. Leachable constituents are adsorbed and bound into the plant structure.
Rhizodegradation: breakdown of contaminants through the activity existing in the rhizosphere (region of soil in the vicinity of plant roots). This activity is due to the presence of proteins and enzymes produced by the plants or by soil organisms such as bacteria, yeast, and fungi.
Rhizofiltration: water remediation technique that involves the uptake of contaminants by plant roots. Rhizofiltration is used to reduce contamination in natural wetlands and estuary areas (E.g. Mangroves).
Mycoremediation: fungi are used to decontaminate the area.
Mycofiltration: using fungal mycelia to filter toxic waste and microorganisms.
The bacterium Deinococcus radiodurans has been used to detoxify toluene and ionic mercury which are released from radioactive nuclear waste.