It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Plants have evolved to exclude any metal from their roots or in any of the surrounding soil. Most plants do this, but not a particular plant called the Rinorea Niccolifera. It was discovered in the jungles of the Philippines and can accumulate up to 18,000 ppm of metal in its leaves and roots without being poisoned. This is 100 to 1000 times the amount of metal that normal plants can take in. Researchers at the University of the Phillippines – Los Banos that described the species in a new report also discovered that its ability to eat toxic levels of metals could make the tree a great solution to toxic waste sites around the planet. This is why this discovery is so important. It is a small tree, normally 1.8 meters tall with a stem ranging from 3 to 13 centimetres in diameter. Read more at www.the-open-mind.com...
As well as being an exciting new scientific discovery, the plant also has important environmental credentials. Rinorea niccolifera can remove large amounts of dangerous metallic metals from polluted ecosystems, and subsequently it is likely to find supporters in the mining industry. Not only can the plants absorb large amounts of nickel, they can also then be harvested for the metal they have absorbed. "Hyperaccumulator plants have great potentials for the development of green technologies, for example, 'phytoremediation' and 'phytomining',” Augustine Doronila, of the University of Melbourne, who co-authored the study, said. ‘Phytoremediation’ is a term used to describe how hyperaccumulator plants remove heavy metals from contaminated soils. ‘Phytomining’ refers to the process where hyperaccumulator plants are used to grow and harvest commercially viable metals in plant shoots from metal rich soils.
Nickel hyperaccumulation is such a rare phenomenon with only about 0.5–1 per cent of plant species native to nickel-rich soils having been recorded to exhibit the ability. Throughout the world, only about 450 species are known with this unusual trait, which is still a small proportion of the estimated 300,000 species of vascular plants. “Hyperacccumulator plants have great potentials for the development of green technologies, for example, phytoremediation and phytomining,” said Dr Augustine Doronila from the University of Melbourne, who is the senior author of a paper published in the journal PhytoKeys.
The new species, according to Dr Marilyn Quimado, one of the lead scientists of the research team, was discovered on the western part of Luzon Island in the Philippines, an area known for soils rich in heavy metals.
“This plant’s capacity to store 1.8 per cent of nickel is similar to the amount of nickel contained in any ordinary spoon or cutlery,” notes Augustine Doronila, co-author of the study and senior research fellow at the University of Melbourne in Australia who specialises in restoration ecology.
Because of the plant’s unique features, Doronila is also interested in further studying its potential applications in medicine. He cites aspirin as an example of a natural plant extract (from the willow tree) that became beneficial in modern medicine.
William Dar, director general of the India-based International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, notes that another area worth looking into is the scalability of using the nickel-eating plant for environmental applications and the readiness of the Philippines and other countries in adopting this.
Doronila says a typical study on phytoremediation would involve covering a hectare of land with nickel-eating plants and holding the experiment for three or more years.
It is both labour and financially intensive but doable, Doronila points out. Key to this will be the further development of local scientists trained to identify the plant in the wild, regular funding for research and greater ecological awareness among the local population.
“I hope the discovery of the nickel-eating plant will fuel the hunger for more research on the biodiversity of the Philippines. We need to discover them before they get lost to land conversion,” he stresses.
The new species of nickel-eating plant was called Rinorea niccolifera. It was discovered in Zambales, a province where there are mining projects. I think the plant is unknown to the local community because it has no local name. The plant is also classified as Endangered according to IUCN protocols. The study cites two possible uses for the plants. One is for phytoremediation, the process of cleaning up metal-contaminated soil. Another is to grow the plant and harvest the nickel later. This process is called Phytomining. I believe both process can be done at the same time. Use the plant to clean the soil and recover the metal later. By the way, nickel is a metal that is widely used in many products for consumer, industrial, military, transport, aerospace, marine and architectural applications. About 65 percent of the nickel which is produced is used to manufacture stainless steels. Another 20 percent is used in other steel and non-ferrous alloys, often for highly specialized industrial, aerospace and military applications. About 9 percent is used in plating and 6 percent in other uses, including coins, electronics, and in batteries for portable equipment and hybrid cars. * * * Here’s another metal-eating plant. Scientists at CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, observed that gold can be found in the leaves of certain eucalyptus trees in very small amounts. Eucalyptus trees are similar to those found along the North Luzon expressway. The particles of gold found in the leaves of the eucalyptus trees are really tiny. They are only about one-fifth the diameter of human hair, and virtually invisible to the human eye. So if you’re thinking of killing eucalyptus trees to get the gold, forget it.
originally posted by: rickymouse
So I wonder if this tree actually does this as part of it's defense system. It may use this to limit the ability of animals to eat it or to make metal herbicides to kill off competitive plants.
originally posted by: PhoenixOD
Why not just recycle the metal and save the environment by not having to dig up and refine new stuff?