Uptake, accumulation and metabolism of PFASs in plants and health perspectives: A critical review

By Xinchun Jiao, Qingyang Shi, and Jay Gan
Crit. Rev. in Env. Sci. & Tech.
September 2, 2020
DOI: 10.1080/10643389.2020.1809219

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are man-made persistent organic compounds of significant health and environmental concern because of their resistance to degradation, tendency for global transport, and ability to bioaccumulate. The widespread use and stability of PFASs provide many opportunities for human exposure to these contaminants. In recent years, our understanding of PFASs as contaminants in vegetation has increased considerably. PFASs are taken up, transformed and accumulated in various compartments of plants, and the rate of these processes depends on environmental conditions, compound-specific characteristics, plant species, and other competing factors. This review summarizes the recent findings on the uptake, accumulation, distribution and metabolism of PFASs in higher plants, with a specific focus on plant metabolism pathways of representative polyfluoroalkyl compounds. The potential risk of PFASs in plant-origin food for human exposure is also discussed. Further studies on plant metabolism of polyfluoroalkyl chemicals are in urgent need to fill the data gaps and allow a comprehensive understanding of plant metabolism pathways. Additional research questions are proposed, including the behavior and fate of new PFASs and PFOS/PFOA replacements in environmental systems in the presence of plants, and the phytoremediation potential of different plant species.

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