Aiyen Tjoa, a soil biologist and lecturer, was exploring the small mining town of Sorowako on the Sulawesi Island in Indonesia when she saw some rare plants bleed nickel. Sorowako was once home to an immense diversity of rare plants. However, the lush vegetation was cleared for mining, leaving behind barren soil and dusty roads. The nickel-rich plants absorb the metal from the soil and store it in high quantities. In a report, Tjoa said that these plants can act as an alternative source of the metal as well as help in cleaning soil. The plants are nickel hyper-accumulators, which means they are able to concentrate about 1,000 micrograms of nickel per 1gm of dried leaf. The plant stores nickel in its shoots, leaves, roots and sap.
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