Non‑polar regions of cells in Ryegrass remove relatively large quantities of toxic, oily industrial pollutants from the environment by absorbing them through roots and distributing them in cell walls and sequestered vacuoles.

The incomplete burning of fossil fuels, such as gas and coal, leads to the creation of toxic, oily substances that are hard to break down and accumulate in the environment. These pollutants are known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) some of which are carcinogenic or mutagenic. Ridding soils of these pollutants can be difficult and expensive. But certain plants, such as ryegrass, passively sip PAHs out of the soil and store them in areas of the plant where oily substances can dissolve, such as cell walls and vacuoles. The same low-energy processes that pull water through the roots also help to pull PAHs into plant tissues.

Last Updated August 24, 2017