If you have been following us on social media or have read any of our blogs in the past you may have noticed the word "phytoremediation" being used. Until today, we haven't produced a piece of content solely on the subject of phytoremediation. So get your cup of joe, thinking cap and eyes ready for a deep dive into the science of phytoremediation.
To simplify what "phytoremediation" means, imagine a plant "vacuuming" toxins, heavy metals and pollutants from the soil. What happens next can vary dependant on plant type, location, etc..
After removing the toxins from the soil a hemp plant will either metabolize and neutralize the pollutants which are called "photodegradation". Another alternative is that the plant will absorb the contaminants from the soil and store them in the stalk until the plant dies which is coined "phytoaccumulation". Finally, a plant may accumulate the chemicals and release the pollutants back into the air which is called "phytovolatilization".
All of these processes that can occur do pose a problem. What will we do with the biomass that holds onto the toxins? I think we will need to set in place a process of using hemp as a cleaner of polluted land for a set period of time. Before we start planting and using hemp for human consumption or textile use to avoid ingesting contaminants on accident.
It's very ironic that this plant has so many industrial and medical uses, but it also can pose a problem if we use it. At the end of the day, the only reason we now face the problem has been our choices to operate a society so dependent on toxic chemicals and conventional farming methods. Consider that maybe we could use the toxic biomass as a fuel source for vehicles as hemp biofuel is being worked on as we speak too.
Either way, this benefit of the plant should be taken into consideration. Especially if you use hemp for medicinal benefits. Make sure you know where your products are coming from and that the company you purchase from is transparent in their supply chain.
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