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
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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.
Anderson, C.W.N. (1999) Phytomining for nickel, thallium and gold, Journal of Geochemical Exploration, 67,
Anonymous (2001) GMI and MMSD. Mining Environmental Management 9, pp. 7-9.
Antonovics, J., Bradshaw, A.D. and Turner, R.G. (1971) Heavy metal tolerance in plants, Advances in Ecological
Research, 7, pp. 1-85.
Baker, A.J.M. and Brooks, R.R. (1989) Terrestrial higher plants which hyperaccumulate metallic elements - a review of
their distribution, ecology and phytochemistry, Biorecovery, 1, pp. 81-126.
Baker, A.J.M., McGrath, S.P., Reeves, R.D. and Smith, J.A.C. (2000) Metal hyperaccumulator plants: a review of the
ecology and physiology of a biological resource for phytoremediation of metal-polluted soils, Phytoremediation
of Contaminated Soil and Water, Bañuelos, and Terry (eds), Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton, pp. 85-107.
Brooks, R.R., Baker, A.J.M. and Malaisse, F. (1992) Copper flowers, National Geographic Research and Exploration,
8, pp. 338-351.
Chaney, R.L., Li, Y.M., Brown, S.L., Homer, F.A., Malik, M., Angle, J.S., Baker, A.J.M., Reeves, R.D. and Chin, M.
(2000) Improving metal hyperaccumulator wild plants to develop commercial phytoextraction systems;
approaches and progress, Phytoremediation of Contaminated Soil and Water, Bañuelos, and Terry (eds), Lewis
Publishers, Boca Raton, pp. 131-160.
Chaney, R.L., Angle, J.S., McIntosh, M.S., Reeves, R.D., Li, Y-M., Brewer, E.P., Chen, K-Y., Roseberg, R.J., Perner,
H., Synkowski, E.C., Broadhurst, L. and Baker, A.J.M. (2005) Using hyperaccumulator plants to phytoextract
soil Ni and Cd, Zeitschrift für Naturforschung, 60c, pp. 190-198.
Dobson, A.P., Bradshaw, A.D. and Baker, A.J.M. (1997) Hopes for the future: restoration ecology and conservation
biology, Science, 277, pp. 515-522.
Ernst, W.H.O. (1974) Schwermetallvegetation der Erde. Fischer-Verlag, Stuttgart.
Ginocchio, R. and Baker, A.J.M. (2004) Metallophytes in Latin America: a remarkable biological and genetic resource
scarcely known and studied in the region, Revista Chilena de Historia Natural, 77, pp. 195-194.
ICMM (International Council on Mining and Metals) (2006) Good Practice Guidance for Mining and Biodiversity,
ICMM, London, 142 p.
MMSD Project (2002) Breaking New Ground: Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development. Earthscan Publications
Ltd, London, 441 p.
Purvis, O.W. (2000) Lichens Natural History Museum, London.
Rajakaruna, N. and Baker, A.J.M. (2004) Serpentine: a model habitat for botanical research in Sri Lanka, Ceylon
Journal of Science, 32, pp. 1-19.
Van der Lelie, N., Schwitzguébel, J-P., Glass, D.J., Vangronsveld, J. and Baker, A.J.M. (2001) Assessing
phytoremediation progress in the United States and Europe, Environmental Science and Technology, 35,
Whiting, S.N., Reeves, R.D., Richards, D., Johnson, M.S., Cooke, J.A., Malaisse, F., Paton, A., Smith, J.A.C., Angle,
J.S., Chaney, R.L., Ginocchio, R., Jaffré, T., Johns, R., McIntyre, T., Purvis, O.W., Salt, D.E., Schat, H., Zhao,
F.J. and Baker, A.J.M. (2004) Research priorities for conservation of metallophyte biodiversity and its
sustainable uses in ecological restoration and site remediation, Restoration Ecology, 12, pp. 107-117.