Fern absorbing toxins from mining soil found in Philippines

Apr 24, 2020 | News

Scientists in Philippines discovered that a fern Pteris melanocaulon that thrives on the ground near copper-gold mining sites proves to be a powerful hyperaccumulator and can absorb high concentrations of such toxins as copper and arsenic. This ability is rare but this fern’s absorption of As and Cu simultaneously is a real phenomenon.

Usually, such soils rich in heavy metals and toxic minerals are not suitable for any plants except for metallophytes. Scientists of the University of Manila studied that peculiar fern and found out that it did not only thrive on the mining sites but also accumulated larger concentrations of arsenic than the soil it is planted on and showed no traces of toxicity.

These findings present a good opportunity to step up environmental approaches to pollution clean-ups. Researchers say that this fern can be a good solution for rehabilitation of mining sites. The plant can filter contaminated water and prevent the spread of heavy metals through the soil. 

Read more about the research…

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