Biotech Updates

Metal-Eating Plant Discovered in the Philippines

May 14, 2014

Scientists from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) have discovered a new plant on the western part of Luzon Island that eats nickel. The plant, called Rinorea niccolifera, accumulates up to 18,000 ppm of nickel in its leaves without being poisoned, an amount which is a hundred or a thousand times higher than in most other plants. Nickel hyperaccumulation is rare among plants, with only about 450 species known to have this unusual trait.

Drs. Edwino Fernando and Marilyn Quimado from the UPLB College of Forestry and Natural Resources, and Dr. Augustine Doronila from the University of Melbourne School of Chemistry are co-authors of the study. Dr. Doronila said, "Hyperacccumulator plants have great potentials for the development of green technologies, for example, 'phytoremediation' and 'phytomining'."

For more details about this discovery, read