An antioxidant, a type of compound that prevents certain types of damage to living cells, appears to allow some kinds of plants to thrive on metal-enriched soils that typically kill other plants, says a Purdue University scientist.
This finding, published in the current issue of The Plant Cell, provides an important new insight for the development of plants that could be used to help clean polluted sites. The work also answers a fundamental question for researchers studying how certain types of plants tolerate levels of metals in their tissues that are toxic to most other plants. "We were able to clearly establish for the first time that plants that create and accumulate high cellular levels of the antioxidant glutathione are much more nickel tolerant," said David Salt, associate professor of plant molecular physiology in Purdues horticulture department.
The term antioxidant generally refers to a broad class of compounds that protect cells from damage otherwise caused by exposure to certain highly reactive compounds. Understanding the mechanism behind nickel tolerance provides an important tool for researchers like Salt, whose goal is to develop plants that remove toxic metals from the environment in a process known as phytoremediation, or extract useful metals from soil, a process known as phytomining.
Jennifer Cutraro | EurekAlert!
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Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
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Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
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