Plants start work as metal miners

Mustard plantsScientists at the University of York are to lead an international team that will explore the use of plants to recover precious metals from mine tailings around the world.
Researchers in the University’s Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence and the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products (CNAP) aim to develop ways to extract platinum group metals (PGM) discarded during mine processing which might then be used in catalysis. The research will investigate “phyto-mining,” which involves growing plants on mine waste materials to sponge up PGM into their cellular structure.

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Urban areas have more plant species than rural areas but they die younger

Singapore skylineCities in both, the US and Europe harbour more plant species than rural areas. However, plant species of urban areas are closer related to each other and often share similar functions. Consequently, urban ecosystems should be more sensitive towards environmental impacts than rural ecosystems.

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Nanoparticles may damage plant DNA

Nanoparticle influence on plantsResearchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) have provided the first evidence that engineered nanoparticles are able to accumulate within plants and damage their DNA. In a recent paper, the team led by NIST chemist Bryant C. Nelson showed that under laboratory conditions, cupric oxide nanoparticles have the capacity to enter plant root cells and generate many mutagenic DNA base lesions.

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Noise pollution hurts plant life too

A growing body of research shows that birds and other animals change their behavior in response to manmade noise, such as the din of traffic or the hum of machinery. But human clamor doesn’t just affect animals. Because many animals also pollinate plants or eat or disperse their seeds, human noise can have ripple effects on plants too, finds a new study.

Noise pollution plants

A new study finds that man-made noise has ripple effects on plants such as piñon pine, whose natural seed dispersers tend to avoid noisy areas. Photo courtesy of Clinton Francis, NESCent.


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SRM geoengineering more likely to increase global food production

If we would pump aerosols in the stratosphere to artificially cool the Earth and thereby compensate (part of) the current climate warming, we would be permanently living under a slight sunshade. That would mean in a futuristic world it may … Continue reading

‘No, climate sensitivity is not smaller, it is higher than we thought’ – because organic aerosol feedbacks mask warming

Says an international research group led by Gothenburg University. It serves to show individual climate sensitivity studies are never conclusive but add up bits of fresh understanding to an already enormous pile of data and knowledge.

Metastudy shows current climate change makes flora and fauna shrink

The paleoclimatic record shows it has happened before – and now two well-read researchers illustrate it is already happening again: species across life’s kingdoms are decreasing in size, due to warming, droughts and acidification. It’s a sign ecology is feeling … Continue reading