Agromining: Farming of metal-extracting trees and plants could replace mining (RNZ News – April 11, 2021)

https://www.rnz.co.nz

When scientist Alan Baker made a cut in the side of an exotic plant in the Philippines jungle, the sap that bled out had a jade-green glow.

The shrub was a newly discovered species, soon to be known as Phyllanthus Balgooyi, one of a rare variety of plants that naturally suck high amounts of metallic elements from the soil. The fluorescent sap turned out to be 9 percent nickel.

It was a welcome finding, but not a surprise, as Professor Baker’s research into so-called “hyperaccumulators” had already uncovered species that seemed to thrive on everything from cobalt to zinc, and even gold.

“These are plants which can take up elements from the soil [at rates] orders of magnitude higher than normal plants,” Professor Baker says.

Scientists are now on a quest to discover whether farming these plants could provide an alternative to environmentally-destructive mining, while also helping to rehabilitate former mine sites.

For the rest of this article: https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/world/440246/agromining-farming-of-metal-extracting-trees-and-plants-could-replace-mining

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