Alyssum murale, which can survive in metal-rich soils and provide a source of nickel. Photo Credit: Zoonar RF/Getty Images

EnvironmentTechnology Greece29. April 2022

What If We Can Farm Metal?

Researchers have been testing metal farming in the northern part of Greece, studying three endemic plants known as hyperaccumulators which access rare metals in more equitable and regenerative ways.

“The hyperaccumulator plants, for example, show us there are other ways of getting what we need from the planet; they also remind us that there are limits to what we should extract, as to turn them into another agroindustrial resource like soya beans or palm oil would be just as damaging,” says James Bridle, author of Ways of Being: Beyond Human Intelligence.

The three plants – Alyssum murale native to Albania and northern Greece, Leptoplax emarginata found only in Greece, and Bornmuellera tymphaea, the most efficient of the three, found only on the slopes of the Pindus – grow in the Epirus region. Having evolved to thrive in metal-rich soils toxic to most other kinds of life, they draw metals out of the ground – zinc, aluminum, nickel, cadmium, and gold to name a few – and store them in their leaves and stems, hence the name hyperaccumulator.

The Guardian

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