[permaculture] Fwd: Dainty Plant Can Clean Contaminated Soil

mIEKAL aND dtv at mwt.net
Fri Sep 10 09:58:16 EDT 2004



Begin forwarded message:

> From: ARS News Service <NewsService at ars.usda.gov>
> Date: Fri Sep 10, 2004  7:37:19 AM America/Chicago
> To: ARS News subscriber <memexikon at mwt.net>
> Subject: Dainty Plant Can Clean Contaminated Soil
> Reply-To: ARS News Service <NewsService at ars.usda.gov>
>
> STORY LEAD:
> Dainty Plant Can Power-Clean Cadmium-Contaminated Soils
> ___________________________________________
>
> ARS News Service
> Agricultural Research Service, USDA
> Sharon Durham, (301) 504-1611, sdurham at ars.usda.gov
> September 10, 2004
> ___________________________________________
>
> Delicate, white flowers belie the ability of the small plant called 
> alpine pennycress to lift huge amounts of cadmium from contaminated 
> soil. Agricultural Research Service agronomist Rufus Chaney, of the 
> Animal Manure and By-Products Laboratory in Beltsville, Md., and a 
> group of international scientists have found the plant can concentrate 
> about 8,000 parts per million of cadmium in its leaves.
>
> Cadmium is a naturally occurring element that is widely distributed in 
> the Earth's crust, but zinc mining and smelting wastes can cause high 
> cadmium contamination.
>
> In 1992, the team of scientists from ARS, the University of Maryland, 
> the University of Melbourne-Australia and Massey University-New 
> Zealand began working with alpine pennycress (Thlaspi caerulescens), a 
> plant capable of accumulating vast amounts of cadmium and zinc in 
> aboveground leaves and stems. Using this plant, each year farmers 
> could move soil metals into the harvestable plant shoots, making it 
> possible to gradually reduce the soil concentration of cadmium to safe 
> levels.
>
> The cost of this remediation method, called phytoextraction, is about 
> $250 to $1,000 per acre per year, according to Chaney. The alternative 
> cleanup method--removal of contaminated soil and replacement with 
> clean soil--costs about $1 million per acre. Most highly contaminated 
> soils can be deemed safe after 10 years of phytoextraction, thus 
> producing an effective cleanup at a far lower cost.
>
> In 2000, a patent was filed by the University of Maryland on the use 
> of alpine pennycress to remove cadmium from soil. No other similar 
> technologies currently exist for remediation of cadmium-contaminated 
> soils using plants. Cadmium phytoextraction using alpine pennycress 
> has since been licensed to Phytoextraction Associates, LLC, of 
> Baltimore, Md., which will soon conduct a commercial demonstration of 
> the process.
>
> Research is under way to develop a "super" phytoextraction plant.
>
> Chaney's research is described in the September issue of Agricultural 
> Research magazine, available online at:
> http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/sep04/plant0904.htm
>
> ARS is the chief scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of 
> Agriculture.
> ___________________________________________
>
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