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If we can farm metal from plants, what else can we learn from life on Earth? | James Bridle

15.04.2022
Příroda
There is so much intelligence on this planet other than ours. Realising that will be key to adapting to climate breakdownFor the past couple of years, I've been working with researchers in northern Greece who are farming metal. In a remote, beautiful field, high in the Pindus mountains in Epirus, they are experimenting with a trio of shrubs known to scientists as "hyperaccumulators": plants which have evolved the capacity to thrive in naturally metal-rich soils that are toxic to most other kinds of life. They do this by drawing the metal out of the ground and storing it in their leaves and stems, where it can be harvested like any other crop. As well as providing a source for rare metals - in this case nickel, although hyperaccumulators have been found for zinc, aluminium, cadmium and many other metals, including gold - these plants actively benefit the earth by remediating the soil, making it suitable for growing other crops, and by sequestering carbon in their roots. One day, they might supplant more destructive and polluting forms of mining.The three plants being tested in Greece - part of a network of research plots across Europe - are endemic to the region. Alyssum murale, which grows in low bushes topped by bunches of yellow flowers, is native to Albania and northern Greece; Leptoplax emarginata - taller and spindlier, with clusters of green leaves and white petals - is found only in Greece; and Bornmuellera tymphaea, the most efficient of the three, which straggles across the ground in a dense layer of white blossom, is found only on the slopes of the Pindus (its name comes from Mount Tymfi, one of the highest peaks of the range).James Bridle is a writer and artist, and the author of Ways of Being: Beyond Human Intelligence (Allen Lane), which is available now Continue reading...
Zdroj: The Guardian

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