Unravelling nickel biopathways in tropical hyperaccumulator plants (2016–2018)
Hyperaccumulators are plants that have the remarkable ability to concentrate up to 6% nickel in their leaves and up to 25% in their sap. These plants can be used in phytomining, a new technology to recover nickel from mining waste or contaminated land by growing and harvesting these plants (metal crops) and extracting nickel from their biomass thereby producing high-grade bio-ore. This project seeks to understand how these plants can achieve such extraordinarily levels of nickel accumulation by using a combination of radioactive tracers and synchrotron techniques to follow the pathways of nickel from the soil into the root and the plants. This knowledge is critical to optimize agronomic processes affecting nickel uptake in the metal crop.