Miss Hong Ching Kwok


Dietary exposure to aristolochic acids (AAs) through AA-contaminated foods has long been identified as one of the main causes of Balkan endemic nephropathy (BEN), which is a slowly progressive renal fibrotic disease affecting numerous people living in the farming villages along Danube River in the Balkan Peninsula.1 Recently, we discovered that the farmland soil and groundwater in endemic areas were contaminated by AAs, released from the decay of Aristolochia clematitis, increasing the risk of human exposure to this class of highly potent phytotoxins.1,2 Therefore, it is vital to develop remediation methods for AA-tainted water and arable soil. In this study, we investigated the efficiency of the phytoextraction of AAs from AA-polluted water and soil by using some frequently used phytoremediation plants.3 From the experimental results, it indicated that wheatgrass is greatly efficient in extracting AAs from both contaminated water and soil among the selected plants and metabolizing AAs to the less toxic aristolactams (ALs). Moreover, it showed that an acidic environment, which is typical of endemic villages, increases both the phytoextraction and plant metabolism efficiencies, underlining the applicability of the developed method for affected areas.


  1. Chan, C. K.; Xiong, L.; Pavlovic,́ N. M.; Chan, W. ACS Agric. Sci. Technol. 2021, 1, 522−528
  2. Tung, K. K.; Chan, C. K.; Zhao, Y.; Chan, K. K. J.; Liu, G.; Pavlović, N. M.; Chan, W. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2020, 54, 1554−1561.
  3. Hughes, J. B.; Shanks, J.; Vanderford, M.; Lauritzen, J.; Bhadra, R. Environ. Sci. Technol. 1997, 31, 266−271.

University: HKUST

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