Phytoremediation of Soils Contaminated by Copper Smelting in Chile: Results of a Decade of Research

A. Neaman, C. Yáñez

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3 Scopus citations


Abstract—: This article summarizes the authors’ 10-year study of soil phytoremediation in an anthropogenically contaminated area around a copper smelter in the Valparaiso region of central Chile. It analyzes the risk that contaminated soils pose to public health. Phytostabilization and phytoextraction were considered as the main methods of soil phytoremediation. A study conducted in an industrially contaminated area around a copper smelter found that the application of soil amendments eliminated the factors that inhibited plant growth and allowed for natural regeneration. It was also demonstrated that a single application of a soil amendment (lime or a mixture of lime and compost) was sufficient to establish a stable, self-sustaining ecosystem that was maintained for at least six years. Our study also found that the main disadvantage of the phytoextraction method, which is the long time required to remove the metal from the soil, makes it unfeasible in Chile given the absence of copper hyperaccumulator plants in this country.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1967-1974
Number of pages8
JournalEurasian Soil Science
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Dystric Arenosols (Toxic)
  • copper
  • in situ immobilization of metals
  • phytoextraction
  • phytostabilization


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