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New Species of Shrub eats Nickel

A new spiecies of plant has been found. Rinorea niccolifera is a plant recently found by scientists in the Philippines on the western part of Luzon Island by the University of the Philippines. This is a significant find to the natural as well as industrial community, plants usually do not thrive in this area which is known for its metal-rich soil.
Rinorea niccolifera is special because it eats the Nickel found in the soil. Professor Edwino Fernando, a lead researcher stated that the leaves of Rinorea niccolifera can absorb over 18,000 parts per million (ppm) of the metal. According to a press release the Rinorea niccolifera plant can also store over 1,000 times more nickel than most other plants, and the plant does this naturally. The process of plants “eating” toxins out of the environment is called “phytomediation.”
Scientist speculate that this may be a natural way for the plan to survive in an area rich with pollutants. It may also be a way for pollutants to be removed from an area naturally. Researchers also believe that once the plant absorbs a certain amount of metal, they should be able to harvest it for its contents which might be commercially valuable.
It turns out that there are about 350 known species of plants that accumulate metals. Some of the metals are nickel, zinc, copper and manganese.
The accumulating metals do not hurt the plant. The metals are contained in vacuoles, which are microscopic structures inside the plants cells. It contains the toxins so they are not able to harm the rest of the plant.
This is an exciting discovery that may have many advantages.

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