The Plant That’s Full Of Metal

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The amount of metal some special plants are able to take up from the soil would be toxic enough to an average plant to kill it several times over.

To learn more about this topic, start your googling with these keywords:
Hyperaccumulator: a plant capable of growing in metalliferous soils and to accumulate extraordinarily high amounts of heavy metals, far in excess of the levels found in the majority of species, without suffering toxic effects
Phytoremediation: the treatment of pollutants or waste (as in contaminated soil or groundwater) by the use of green plants that remove, degrade, or stabilize the undesirable substances (such as toxic metals)
Phytomining: the planting (and subsequent harvesting) of vegetation that will selectively concentrate specific metals from the soil into their tissues
Euhalophytes: highly salt-tolerant plants capable of diluting salt within their succulent leaves or stems
Active transport: the process of transferring substances against a concentration gradient into, out of, and between cells, using energy

If you liked this week’s video, you might also like:
Read about a farm that is harvesting nickel-hoarding plants profitably:

Thank you to Dr. Hendrik Küpper for his expert consultation on the script! Learn more about his research into “metal-hoarding” plants here:

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Julián Gustavo Gómez (@TheJulianGomez) | Script Writer, Narrator and Director
Arcadi Garcia Rius | Illustration, Video Editing and Animation
Nathaniel Schroeder | Music

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Andresen, Elisa, Edgar Peiter, and Hendrik Küpper. “Trace metal metabolism in plants.” Journal of Experimental Botany 69.5 (2018): 909-954.

Bouman, Roderick, et al. “Phyllanthus rufuschaneyi: a new nickel hyperaccumulator from Sabah (Borneo Island) with potential for tropical agromining.” Botanical studies 59.1 (2018): 9.

Brooks, Robert R., et al. “Phytomining.” Trends in plant science 3.9 (1998): 359-362.

Chrispeels, Maarten J., Nigel M. Crawford, and Julian I. Schroeder. “Proteins for transport of water and mineral nutrients across the membranes of plant cells.” The Plant Cell 11.4 (1999): 661-675.

Favas, Paulo JC, et al. “Phytoremediation of soils contaminated with metals and metalloids at mining areas: potential of native flora.” Environmental risk assessment of soil contamination 3 (2014): 485-516.

Morgan, J. B. & Connolly, E. L. (2013) Plant-Soil Interactions: Nutrient Uptake. Nature Education Knowledge 4(8):2

Morrissey, Joe, and Mary Lou Guerinot. “Trace elements: too little or too much and how plants cope.” F1000 biology reports 1 (2009).

Rascio, Nicoletta, and Flavia Navari-Izzo. “Heavy metal hyperaccumulating plants: how and why do they do it? And what makes them so interesting?.” Plant science 180.2 (2011): 169-181.

Song, Jie, and Baoshan Wang. “Using euhalophytes to understand salt tolerance and to develop saline agriculture: Suaeda salsa as a promising model.” Annals of Botany 115.3 (2015): 541-553.

Yuan, Fang, et al. “Beneficial Effects of Salt on Halophyte Growth: Morphology, Cells, and Genes.” Open Life Sciences 14.1 (2019): 191-200.

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