Mendel -
the Father
of modern
Chernobyl, Ukraine

Bronze Age (2500-600 BC)- beginnings of significant metal contamination of soil continued with
Greek and Roman mining and metal industries 500-300 BC). Exposure to heavy
metal concentrations led to proliferation of metal tolerant and hyperaccumulating plants.
Middle Ages- first use of soil remediation was in the form of crop rotation
for the purpose of restoring fertility to the soil
1865- field of genetics founded when Austrian botanist and monk,
Gregor Mendel experimented with heredity
1928- F. Griffith discovers genetics transformation with bacteria; first
genetically engineered product (insulin) produced
1917- origination of the word "biotechnology" in reference to a mass production of materials
from microbes grown in vats
1970's- development of genetic recombination techniques
1986- First genetically engineered plant
Modern crop rotation feild
First methods for field testing phytoremediation developed by Kathy Banks and her
Team at Purdue University has pioneered the use of poplar trees to remediate soil contaminated with petroleum
Two independent research groups have provided the first insights into the molecular basis of hyperaccumulating
mechanisms and processes as well as developing transgenic varieties of such plants.
Phytoremediation has only been studied extensively in small-scale and site-specific demonstrations- a scientist
in Chernobyl, Ukraine successfully used sunflowers to remove radioactive contaminants from pond water.