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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Biomass crops can be used for biological disinfestation and remediation of soils and water


Many plants that are candidates for refining into biofuels also possess qualities that make them potentially useful for managing soilborne pests, reclaiming polluted soils, supplementing animal feed and other purposes. Phytoremediation with these plants may provide a practical and economical method for managing the movement of trace elements into water tables, surface- and tail-water runoff, and drainage effluent. Mustards (Brassicaceae) are of particular interest for biodiesel, and grasses (Gramineae) for bioethanol production. These plants, as well as others such as certain members of the onion family (Alliaceae), also possess properties that could make them effective natural biofumigants for soil. Some of these crops have high allelopathic activity and must be employed carefully in rotations to avoid damaging subsequent crops.

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