Authors: Baker, AJM; Whiting, SN


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Baker, AJM & Whiting, SN 2008, 'Metallophytes — A Unique Biodiversity and Biotechnological Resource in the Care of the Minerals Industry', in AB Fourie, M Tibbett, I Weiersbye & P Dye (eds), Mine Closure 2008: Proceedings of the Third International Seminar on Mine Closure, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 13-20,

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Metallophytes – plants that have evolved on metal-enriched soils, and their microbial associates – have key ‘values’ that must drive research on their unique properties, and ultimately the conservation of the rich biodiversity resource. The ability of metallophytes to tolerate extreme metal concentrations commends them as the optimal choice for ecological restoration of mineral wastes and metal-contaminated sites. Metallophytes have also spawned several novel phytotechnologies, including phytoremediation and phytomining. Action towards conserving the global metallophyte resource base is imperative, because many species are under threat of extinction from mining activities in the underlying metal-rich substrate. The last decade has seen an ever-increasing interest in metal-tolerant and metal-accumulating plants, both from an academic standpoint, and their use in revegetation and phytostabilization, and it is timely to take stock of this important resource that has, largely by default, ended up in the ‘trust and care’ of the minerals industry.

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