In this review, chemical and biological parameters are discussed thatstrongly influence the speciation of heavy metals, their availability tobiological systems and, consequently, the possibilities to usebioremediation as a cleanup tool for heavy metal polluted sites. In orderto assess heavy metal availability, a need exists for rapid, cost-effectivesystems that reliably predict this parameter and, based on this, thefeasibility of using biological remediation techniques for site managementand restoration. Special attention is paid to phytoremediation as anemerging technology for stabilization and remediation of heavy metalpollution. In order to improve phytoremediation of heavy metal pollutedsites, several important points relevant to the process have to beelucidated. These include the speciation and bioavailability of the heavymetals in the soil determined by many chemical and biological parameters, the role of plant-associated soil microorganisms and fungi inphytoremediation, and the plants. Several options are described how plant-associated soil microorganisms canbe used to improve heavy metal phytoremediation.

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