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Home>Major Activities>Seminars and Workshops in 2009>Development of Phytoremediation Technology for Reducing Hazardous Chemical Compounds in Food



Date
September 2009
Venue
Tsukuba, Japan
Co-sponsors
National Institute for Agro-Environmental Science (NIAES), Japan
Background / Highlights of Activity

Along with industrial expansion, arable lands in most Asian countries have been gradually degraded or contaminated with hazardous pollutants such as cadmium (Cd) and arsenate (As). In the last two decades, this trend became more evident, significantly aggravating the quality of soil and crop because of the increased concentration of pollutants in the soil system. This is expected to bring about great risks on human health and cause the deterioration of environmental quality in the region.

Codex has recently proposed a new standard of Cd concentrations in major agricultural products such as rice grain, wheat, vegetable, and meat, and some Asian countries have followed suit by also changing the critical concentrations of Cd in their soils and crops. With rice being an important staple crop in many Asian countries, it becomes a matter of urgency to reduce Cd concentration in paddy soil and Cd content in rice grains to meet the Codex standard.

Recently, it was reported that 25% of wells in Bangladesh are polluted by arsenic and that more than 30 million people are left with no other option but to drink As-polluted water. Since then, intensive surveys have been conducted in various Asian countries where people are fully dependent on underground water for drinking. Unfortunately, arsenic water pollution is a problem not only in Bangladesh, but also in many other Asian countries such as China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Nepal, India, and Pakistan. It has also been reported that the mechanism of well-water pollution by arsenic is closely associated with geology and agricultural practices, particularly irrigation.

This international seminar aims to identify and develop reliable, economic, feasible and effective phytoremediation technology for Cd-polluted soil. It will also discuss the current status of As-pollution of water and soil in many Asian countries in relation to agricultural practices, as well as propose practical and effective countermeasures to reduce As-concentration in water and soil.

Objectives

  1. To screen potential plant species for phytoremediation of Cd- and As-polluted soils.
  2. To enhance phytoextraction technology of Cd-polluted soils by potential plant species, and to develop a methodology to quantitatively evaluate the effect of phytoremediation on the reduction of Cd in the food.
  3. To propose an appropriate Cd and As level in various soils to ensure food safety in Asian countries.
  4. To identify the current status of Arsenate pollution in soils and water in Asian countries.
  5. To develop phytoremediation technology for As polluted soil in Asia.