The purpose of this project was to perform an inter- and intraagency survey of the use of plants as test systems for ecological risk assessment and remediation for the United States Environmental Protection Agency Office of Research Development (USEPA/ORD). Four broad classes of plant applications were identified: (1) bioassays; (2) bioindicators; (3) bioremediation; and (4) biotechnology. Improvement to research methodologies would include: (1) developing fluorescence bioassays for terrestrial and aquatic plants and algae and combining plant and animal tests to form regionally differentiated suites of bioassays; (2) development of “natural community” databases and small-scale maps for evaluation of changes in plant community structure to determine the “biotic integrity” of specific habitat types; (3) expand work to develop plants and fungi as biologic remediative tools; and (4) development of guidelines for field trials and eventual full-scale agricultural use of pesticide-producing genetically engineered plants (GEPs).
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