New Species Of Metal-Eating Plant Has ‘Great Potential’ For Green Technology
By Philip Ross
on May 10 2014 6:23 PM
A plant species that “eats” metal was recently discovered in the Philippines, and scientists who identified the iron-stomached plant say it could help clean up the environment.
According to scientists at the University of the Philippines, Los Baños, who published a report about the metal-eating plant in the journal PhytoKeys on Friday, Rinorea niccolifera absorbs and stores up to 18,000 parts per million of nickel in its leaves without being poisoned. That’s about 1,000 times more metal than is present in most other plants.
"Hyperacccumulator plants have great potentials for the development of green technologies,” Augustine Doronila of the University of Melbourne, a co-author of the report, said in a statement. Doronila noted the value of Rinorea niccolifera for uses like phytoremediation (using plants to remove contaminants from the environment) and phytomining (employing plants in the recovery of valuable metals.)