The investigator in this project will conduct a series of experiments investigating the accumulation of metal species by different hyper-accumulator plants under various experimental conditions, and using these results assess the feasibility of phytomining and remediation techniques in Australia.
Phytoextraction can be defined simply as the recovery of metals using plants. There are two basic applications: phytomining, where valuable naturally occurring elements are harvested and phytoremediation, where non-naturally occurring contaminants are recovered for secure disposal or reuse. Both are relatively new technologies and require fundamental research before becoming widely adopted by either the mining industry or environmental practitioners. The most likely commercial targets for phytomining technologies are the precious metals (Au, Pt and Ag) although it is also possible to phytoextract iron, zinc, copper, cadmium, nickel, lead and cobalt.
The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 351