Heavy metals

donachie at vax.oxford.ac.uk donachie at vax.oxford.ac.uk
Mon Dec 14 08:13:24 EST 1992

 On the subject of hyperaccumulators, work in this lab is investigating the
nature of the complexes formed in these plants with organic acids, in order to
determine whether these provide a possible mechanism of tolerance for the

  The levels of metal which these plants accumulate can be huge, Sebertia
accuminata, a tree from New Caledonia, has a latex which conatins, on a dry
weight basis, 26 % nickel.  This is the highest recorded concentration in any
living ( :-) ) organism.  

  I think that the act of hyperaccumulation is related to the site at which the
plant can be found.  We are working on Alyssum spp here, and these can be, and
are regularly grown in gardens in Europe.  We have plants which are known to be
hyperaccumulators, and as control plants we are using garden seeds bought from
a commercial supplier.  We think that they won't hyperaccumulate, if they do

  Just some interesting info to pass on over the dinner table ( :-) )

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