Bioremediation of Contaminated Land

Picture3The failure of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear powerplant contaminated ground and ocean waters within a radius of 30-50 km with significant amounts of radioactive material including caesium-137, resulting in a ban on the sale of food grown in the area.

In the case of Chernobyl (estimated to have had 10 times the fall out of Fukushima) efforts have been applied to using Industrial Hemp as a “bio sponge” to take up the radioactive dust lying on and in the top couple of millimeters of ground in the fallout zone.

PGX believes that there may be greater value in using adapted Giant Reed to remediate the soil, simultaneously providing an immediate income from abundant biomass and/or biofuel in the process.  The reed is the ideal renewable energy feedstock for cellulosic digestion to ethanol, or for gasification to syngas and will concentrate radioactive waste for extraction during the energy generation processes.

PGX has developed rapid tissue culture micropropagation techniques making it possible to bring this uniquely versatile and useful plant up to commercial scale quickly and cost-effectively.

The end result of a Giant Reed-based decontamination project targeting both salt (from Tsunami effects) and nuclear waste would be land cleansed to a level suitable for return to food production within a human time scale.


Paulownia tomentosa (also known as kiri, Empress Tree or Princess Tree) is a versatile, fast-growing tree particularly suited to Japan’s environment and culture, and offers a range valuable applications from furniture, carved artefacts and stringed instruments to renewable energy in the form of biomass, syngas and ethanol, and its large leaves hold sufficient protein as to provide high quality cattle fodder.

PGX has developed uniquely salt-tolerant varieties of this species (though at lower tolerance levels than Giant Reed – 5g/L for Paulownia Reed vs  16g/L for reed before yield quality and quantity are affected).

PGX has developed polygenomic varieties of Paulownia designed to suit various environments and applications and this tree may form a valuable diversification element for an integrated bioremediation strategy of the affected zone to bring those lands back into production immediately – and into normality within a relatively short timeframe.

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