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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Postgraduate Courses (School of GeoSciences)

Postgraduate Course: Phytotechnologies - plant-based technologies for environmental management (PGGE11290)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course will introduce students to phytotechnologies, allowing them to understand the underlying principles and mechanisms, recognise their potential from an environmental and economic perspective, and develop the essential skills for their application.
Course description This course will be a comprehensive introduction to phytotechnologies, emphasising the importance of nature-based solutions for tackling some of the most pressing environmental issues of our time. The course will enable students to understand the fundamental concepts and principles underlying a wide array of phytotechnologies (e.g., phytoremediation, phytomining, urban green infrastructure, etc.), as well as to identify their environmental and economic potential. Students will learn how different phytotechnologies can be employed to tackle air, water, and soil pollution in environmental backdrops ranging from mining sites to wetlands, and brownfields to urban canyons. Moreover, this course will provide first-hand instruction about the use of phytotechnologies for the economic exploitation of polluted or highly mineralised soils and their role against emerging contaminants. Hence, the students will develop the skills to critically discuss, design, and assess the implementation of phytotechnologies in specific environmental settings and contexts. In addition, experimental work (at bench and/or field-scale) covering the pertinent analytical methodology and key instrumentation, will allow students to link theory and practice. The course is suitable for students interested in the application of plant-based solutions to address a broad array of disciplines such as environmental pollution, green economy, and the natural capital, among others. The course encompasses lectures and tutorials/seminar sessions centred on activities to boost the students¿ independent learner abilities. Guest lectures by leading researchers in the pertaining topics will be organised to further enhance the students¿ comprehension of the course contents. The course will be supplemented with laboratory, glasshouse and/or field research activities
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs Only the purchase of appropriate PPE (for working outdoors), which many will already have.
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  40
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 14, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 7, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 15, Fieldwork Hours 8, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 152 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 60 % critical essay (max 3000 words) on a selected phytotechnology covered in the course - LO1, LO2, LO5

40% for a short scientific paper critique (max 1500 words). Critical review of a paper specifically constructed by the course leader, where the student must examine different elements covered in the course - LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5
Feedback Students will be provided in-text feedback and final summary comments on their essay (including areas for improvement and best practice). A marking rubric will be designed, and standard feedback sheets and moderation forms (University of Edinburgh) will be used. Additional feedback will be appropriately given during the laboratory, glasshouse, and fieldwork activities.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the underlying principles, concepts, and goals of phytotechnologies.
  2. Critically appraise a problem and conceptualise the suitable phytotechnology strategy to address it.
  3. Be able to identify a range of standard instruments and techniques for examining the elements of different phytotechnologies in an experimental or field situation.
  4. Interpret and critically discuss experimental and literature results.
  5. Critically engage with the pertaining literature.
Reading List
¿Assisted Phytoremediation. (2022). Elsevier.

Phytoremediation. (2022). Elsevier.

Novo, L.A.B., et al., 2017. Phytomining of Rare and Valuable Metals, in: Phytoremediation. Springer International Publishing, Cham, pp. 469¿486.

Corzo Remigio, A., et al., 2020. Phytoextraction of high value elements and contaminants from mining and mineral wastes: opportunities and limitations. Plant Soil 449, 11¿37.

Kidd, P.S., et al., 2018. Developing Sustainable Agromining Systems in Agricultural Ultramafic Soils for Nickel Recovery. Front. Environ. Sci. 6, 44.

Tomson, M., et al., 2021. Green infrastructure for air quality improvement in street canyons. Environ. Int. 146, 106288.

Blanusa, T., et al., 2019. Urban hedges: A review of plant species and cultivars for ecosystem service delivery in north-west Europe. Urban For. Urban Green. 44, 126391.

Ysebaert, T., et al. 2021. Green walls for mitigating urban particulate matter pollution¿A review. In Urban Forestry & Urban Greening (Vol. 59, p. 127014). Elsevier BV.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Problem solving and analytical thinking

Critical appraisal of scientific literature

Report writing

Field and laboratory skills
KeywordsPhytoremediation,Phytomining,Green Walls,Urban hedges,Natural Economy
Course organiserDr Luís Novo
Course secretaryMs Jennifer Gumbrell
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