Plant “miner”, you deserve it

  There is a saying in the ancient poem: Plant a millet in spring, and harvest thousands of seeds in autumn. Sowing food crops in spring and harvesting seeds and fruits for human consumption in autumn is a common sight for us. But have you ever seen a plant that “sets” gold, nickel nuggets or lithium particles? Some scientists are growing such plants.
  Will “suck money” plants
  we know, growth and development of humans and animals need to intake of some metal elements, these elements once the excess will cause poison to us. In fact, the same is true for most plants. Some land that has been polluted by heavy metals is often barren. However, people have discovered that some plants have a special ability to “absorb gold” and they are not afraid of heavy metals.
  There are not a few plants that can “suck gold”. Ancient Chinese agronomists have discovered: “There are green onions on the mountain, and silver under it; scallion on the mountain, gold under it; ginger on the mountain, copper and tin under it”. Plants have different preferences for metal elements. Beginning in 1948, ecologists around the world have successively discovered that certain plants can absorb and accumulate metal elements such as nickel, zinc, and cadmium from the soil. The metal content in their bodies is dozens or hundreds of times that of other plants, and they can still be normal. life. Later, American ecologists Bruce and Baker named these plants “hyperaccumulators.” Why are they not afraid of heavy metals?
  Studies have found that different plants have different detoxification strategies. Cerulean blue cabbage is a plant that likes metal zinc, and its root cells have many zinc ion transporters. In zinc-deficient soil, these transporters will be expressed in large quantities, while in zinc-rich soil, the function of transporters will be inhibited. Glutathione is indispensable in plants that like nickel, such as water chestnuts. It can combine with nickel to form a stable compound, thereby reducing the damage of nickel to plants. The centipede grass that can absorb a large amount of arsenic will block the arsenic element in the cell sap, preventing it from entering the organelles, so that the toxicity is “diluted”.
  Because of the ability to not be afraid of heavy metals, in places rich in heavy metals, due to the lack of competition, hyper-rich plants can live better, so finding the corresponding plants has become a coup for miners. For example, the red dianthus flower is a good helper for finding gold deposits. Uranium will make the milk vetch flowers light red. Where there are a lot of Stipa or Mallow, there may be nickel deposits.
  Look how mining plant
  in addition to the mining area “positioning”, the fact Hyperaccumulator “mining” is also a master. Many scientists are now engaged in this environmentally friendly mining industry.
  Plant mining, as the name suggests, is to plant some kind of super-enriched plant in the mining area, let it absorb minerals from the soil, and then we refine the minerals in the plant into minerals.
  Plant “miners” are more efficient. In some mining areas where the content of mineral elements is low or has been initially mined, such as waste rock piles in mines, soil blocks discarded during mining, etc., because the metal content is too low, traditional mining methods cannot continue to be enriched and mined. Can use plant “miners”.
  Plant “miners” are also more energy-saving and environmentally friendly. In traditional mines, it is often necessary to “scrape the ground” to dig out the underground minerals. In the process of extracting the minerals, a large amount of water, electricity or fossil energy is needed to concentrate and purify the minerals. “It will solve these problems well.
  Rufus Charney, an agronomist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, first tried planting water chestnuts to mine nickel. The experimental team led by him found that planting water chestnuts on one hectare of land with a nickel content of about 0.2% can obtain 100 kilograms of nickel a year, which is only 1/400 of all nickel in the soil. Calculated in this way, this business can be said to be extremely profitable. On this land, plant “miners” can work for 400 years.
  After these plants have absorbed the nickel in the soil, how can we extract the nickel? The most common method is fire roasting. After the plants are dried, they are burned to ashes. The ashes are enriched with 10% to 20% of high-purity nickel. These ashes are sent to smelters for processing or refining, and they can be made into nickel blocks, nickel catalysts or other chemical products.
  Chris Anderson, a botanist at the Carlow Institute of Technology in Ireland, uses cabbage to extract lithium. Cabbage is the plant that is best at absorbing lithium from 34 plants selected by the experimental team. Even when other plants are present, cabbage can still absorb the most lithium. When researchers add certain chemical substances to the soil, lithium will be released from the soil compounds and become more easily absorbed lithium ions, which greatly increases the absorption rate of cabbage. Anderson’s lithium extracted from cabbage will eventually be used to make lithium batteries.
  There are many “gold-absorbing” plants in nature. The kelp in the ocean absorbs the iodine in the sea water. We can extract a large amount of iodine from the ashes after the kelp is burned; the corn we often eat can enrich the gold element in the soil, and plant corn near the gold mine, really It can “turn stones into gold”; there is a kind of pasture called Ziganxin, which has the special ability to absorb tantalum. Tantalum is a metal with good corrosion resistance and conductivity, but it often coexists with another metal element, niobium, and it is difficult to separate. “Mining” tantalum with Ziganxin will solve this problem well; The potassium absorbed by sunflower, tin absorbed by yellow vine grass, lithium absorbed by tobacco, etc., the metal content in their bodies has reached the level that can be extracted by industry.
  Not only are many plants being used as “miners”, hyperaccumulators are also “cleaners” in areas contaminated with heavy metals. After several rounds of planting hyperaccumulators, the originally contaminated land will be purified. Hou Linglong, an environmentalist at Sichuan University and others, planted Houttuynia cordata to adsorb the toxic heavy metal cadmium in the soil. Houttuynia cordata is a plant with well-developed root system, fast-growing, and widely distributed. It can repair cadmium pollution in soil well.
  How to judge whether a plant is competent for “mining” and “cleaning” work? There is no need to consult literature, just use a special test paper to test whether the plant juice contains metals, or use a handheld X-ray fluorescence instrument to measure the concentration of metals in plants in the field. When it is confirmed that the metal content in the plant reaches the standard that can be used for adsorption, its usefulness can be determined by finding out the type of metal it is enriched.
  You see, planting plants can really “grow” gold.