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  • Hi, this is Julián from MinuteEarth.

  • This shrub is super metal.

  • No,'s a rare, metal-hoarding plant whose bluish-green sap, when dried out,

  • is 25% nickelthat's ten times more nickel than the typical nickel-containing

  • ore found in nickel mines!

  • In fact, these plants are actually planted in abandoned nickel mines to take the leftover

  • nickel out of the soil, which keeps the toxic metals from leaching into waterways and makes

  • the land viable for other uses like farming.

  • And these metal-hoarding plants are even planted in particularly nickel-rich land, then harvested

  • and processed to extract enough metal to return a profit!

  • ALL plants are able to take some metals up from the soil, after all, they're used in

  • crucial tasksnickel, for instance, is a critical part of plants' nitrogen cycle.

  • But, most plants contain less than 0.0005% nickel and similar levels of other metals

  • any more than that is usually toxic.

  • Surplus nickel inhibits cell division and harms the chlorophyll needed for photosynthesis

  • in leavesall leading to very dead plants.

  • So how do metal-hoarders survive with 50,000 times the normal amount - and what do they

  • do with it?

  • This isn't just a matter of the plants passively absorbing more metal from nutrient-packed

  • soil.

  • Metal-hoarding plants actively suck in way more metal than normal, and they do so by

  • making a lot more of the special proteins that plants use to take in specific nutrients

  • from the soil.

  • Similar proteins transport the metal up into the leaves and trap it in cordoned off pockets

  • within leaf cells, helping the plant wondrously evade death.

  • Ok, but why the heck do they slurp up so much nickel if they're just going to pack it

  • away?

  • Maybe other hoarders can give us a clue, like the salt-loving plants that use this same

  • mechanism to hoard salt, another nutrient that generally kills plants at high concentrations.

  • As it turns out, all that hoarded salt attracts more water from the soil, so salt-hoarding

  • is a great adaptation for plants living in drought-prone areas.

  • Meanwhile metal-hoarders use precious plant energy to collect a bunch of metal that seems

  • to just sit there doing nothing...or is it?

  • Scientists believe these super metal plants are (perhaps unsurprisingly) super toxic to

  • some herbivores, which learn to avoid eating them.

  • So plants that can take up toxic metals - and survive - become toxic themselves, without

  • having to expend energy to concoct their own defensive toxins.

  • If you want to be left alone...just turn up the metal.

  • I know what you're thinking, plants hoard metal to defend themselves from herbivores,

  • but what can I use to protect my internet activity from being snooped on?

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Hi, this is Julián from MinuteEarth.


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The Plant That’s Full Of Metal

  • 10 1
    joey joey に公開 2021 年 04 月 30 日