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Unformatted text preview: mustard family, spurge family, legume family, and grass family are top hyper accumulators. Many are found in tropical and subtropical areas of the world, where accumulation of high concentrations of metals may afford some protection against planteating insects and microbial pathogens.
Only recently have investigators considered using these plants to clean up soil and waste sites that have been contaminated by toxic levels of heavy metals – an environmentally friendly approach known as phytoremediation. This scenario begins with the planting of hyper accumulating species in the target area, such as an abandoned mine or an irrigation pond contaminated by runoff. Toxic minerals would first be absorbed by roots but later relocated to the stem and leaves. A harvest of the shoots would remove the toxic compounds off site to be burned or composted 181
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to recover the metal for industrial uses. After several years of cultivation and harvest, the site would be restored at a cost much lower than the price of excavation and reburial, the standard practice for remediation of contaminated soils. For examples, in field trials, the plant alpine pennycress removed zinc and cadmium from soils near a zinc smelter, and Indian mustard, native to Pakistan and India, has been effective in reducing levels of selenium salts by 50 percent in contaminated soils. Paragraph1: Research has shown that certain minerals are required by plants for normal growth and development. The soil is the source of these minerals, which are absorbed by the plant with the water from the soil. Even nitrogen, which is a gas in its elemental state, in normally absorbed from the soil as nitrate ions. Some soils are notoriously deficient in micro nutrients and are therefore unable to support most plant life. Socalled serpentine soils, for example, are deficient in calcium, and only plants able to tolerate low levels of this mineral can survive. In modern agriculture, mineral depletion of soils is a major concern, since harvesting crops interrupts the recycling of nutrients back to the soil.
1. According to Paragraph1, what is true of plants that can grow in serpentine soil?
They absorb micronutrients unusually well.
They require far less calcium than most plants do.
They are able to absorb nitrogen in its elemental state.
They are typically crops raised for food. Paragraph2: Mineral deficiencies can often be detected by specific symptoms such as chlorosis (loss of chlorophyll resulting in yellow or white leaf issue), necrosis (isolated dead patches), anthocyanin formation (development of deep red pigmentation of leaves or stem), stunted growth, and development of woody tissue in an herbaceous plant. Soils are most commonly deficient in nitrogen and phosphorus. Nitrogendeficient plants exhibit many of the symptoms just described. Leaves develop chlorosis; stems are...
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- Fall '13