Southern cattail highly effective for rehabilitation of areas affected by iron mine tailings – by Staff ( – September 26, 2022)

A recent study conducted by Brazilian researchers and reported on by the São Paulo Research Foundation demonstrated the potential of Southern cattail for use in the sustainable rehabilitation of areas affected by iron ore mine tailings.

In a paper published in the Journal of Cleaner Production, the researchers explain that their experiments showed that the plant can scavenge up to 34 times more manganese from contaminated soil than other plants found in similar environments.

Typha domingensis or Southern cattail is a reedy marsh plant that inhabits fresh to slightly brackish waters and is about 2.5 m tall. The analysis performed by the researchers showed the amount of manganese to correspond to 6,858 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) in the plant’s shoots, compared with an average of 200 mg/kg for other species.

The fieldwork was conducted in Regência on the Doce River estuary, Espírito Santo state, an area inundated by part of the 50 million cubic meters of iron mining waste released when the Fundão tailings dam burst in November 2015 in the locality of Mariana, Minas Gerais (a neighbouring state to Espírito Santo), causing the worst environmental disaster in Brazilian history.

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