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New ‘Nickel-Eating’ Plant Species Discovered in Philippines

Photo Credit: Dr. Edwino S. Fernando; CC-BY 4.0

A new plant species, recently discovered by scientists from the University of the Philippines, is able to accumulate nickel up to 18,000 ppm in its leaves - an amount which is a hundred to a thousand times higher than in most other plants. The newly-discovered species is named as Rinorea niccolifera, and was found in the western part of Luzon Island in Philippines, an area known for soils rich in heavy metals. Nickel hyperaccumulation is a rare phenomenon in plant species. Hyperaccumulator plants, in fact, have large potential in developing green technologies such as “phytoremediation” and “phytomining”, where they can be used to remove heavy metals in contaminated soils as well as reclaim precious metals from metal-rich soils.


Date & Source: May 9, 2014; Science Daily