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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013, Article ID 182032, 7 pages
Research Article

Enhancement of Phosphate Absorption by Garden Plants by Genetic Engineering: A New Tool for Phytoremediation

1Research Institute, Suntory Global Innovation Center Limited, 1-1-1 Wakayama-dai, Shimamoto-cho, Mishima-gun, Osaka 618-8503, Japan
2Safety Science Institute, Quality Assurance Division, Suntory Business Expert Limited, 57 Imaikami-cho, Nakahara-ku, Kanagawa Kawasaki 211-0067, Japan
3Biosciences Research Division, Department of Environment & Primary Industries, AgriBio, Centre for AgriBioscience, 5 Ring Road, La Trobe University, Bundoora, VIC 3083, Australia
4School of Applied Sciences, RMIT University, P.O. Box 71, Bundoora, VIC 3083, Australia

Received 4 June 2013; Accepted 14 July 2013

Academic Editor: Ana Moldes

Copyright © 2013 Keisuke Matsui et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Although phosphorus is an essential factor for proper plant growth in natural environments, an excess of phosphate in water sources causes serious pollution. In this paper we describe transgenic plants which hyperaccumulate inorganic phosphate (Pi) and which may be used to reduce environmental water pollution by phytoremediation. AtPHR1, a transcription factor for a key regulator of the Pi starvation response in Arabidopsis thaliana, was overexpressed in the ornamental garden plants Torenia, Petunia, and Verbena. The transgenic plants showed hyperaccumulation of Pi in leaves and accelerated Pi absorption rates from hydroponic solutions. Large-scale hydroponic experiments indicated that the enhanced ability to absorb Pi in transgenic torenia (AtPHR1) was comparable to water hyacinth a plant that though is used for phytoremediation causes overgrowth problems.