Research on Nickel-Accumulating Plants Could Help with Mine Cleanup

 - Jul 29, 2014
References: edaphics & fastcoexist
A forward-thinking scientist hopes his project concerning nickel accumulation will aid with pollution and mine cleanup. Dylan Bruge on cleaning up pollution-causing mines with plants that turn into precious metals.

A botany curator at California Academy of Sciences is performing research on the Streptanthus revolves around the unusual hyper-accumulation of heavy metals. Specifically the Strepthanus polygaloides species are able to absorb extreme amounts of nickel from the soil and store the metal in its leaves. The 34 year old scientist's work explores isolating this genetic trait and applying it to mine cleanup and other social issues.

Bruge also foresees a way to monetize this project, resulting in a newer, greener and more sustainable way forward for the mining industry. While phytomining is not a new concept, Bruge's enterprising ideas could give it new life.