|MadSci Network: Botany|
Phytomining is an extremely promising technology that is near commercial use. It uses plants that naturally accumulate one or more heavy metals at 100 times or more the normal level. They are called hyperaccumulator plants, and there are more than 400 species currently known. Most hyperaccumulator plants are native to soils naturally high in heavy metals. There are hyperaccumulors of arsenic, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, copper, lead, manganese, nickel, selenium, thallium, uranium, and zinc. The technology is environmentally friendly, unlike most normal mining methods. The plants would be grown on soils or old mine spoils. Then the shoots are harvested and the heavy metal extracted. In addition to phytomining, there are already field tests using hyperaccumulators to clean up soils or waters contaminated with heavy metals, termed bioremediation. Hyperaccumulators can also be used to revegetate areas around old mines where normal species will not grow. References Hyperaccumulators and their uses Phytoremediation of heavy metals using plant cells and organs The Green Clean: The emerging field of phytoremediation takes root Poison-sucking plant cleans soil PHYTOEXTRACTION OF SOIL COBALT USING HYPERACCUMULATOR PLANTS Hyperaccumulator Plant References
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