Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 

Aquatic plants solution to arsenic contamination


Aquatic plants solution to arsenic contamination

A HortResearch scientist thinks that aquatic plants may provide an answer to a global problem of arsenic-contaminated drinking water.

While searching for plants that have the potential to remove arsenic from contaminated soil, scientist Dr Brett Robinson from Palmerston North discovered that most aquatic plants accumulated this element to concentrations of up to 3000 parts per million of arsenic. The plants were taken from geothermal regions around Taupo and Rotorua as well as the Waikato River.

Dr Robinson said, "This was an extraordinary find, and quite disturbing as people eat watercress. The water itself was found to have less than 0.1 parts per million. Fortunately, watercress from uncontaminated streams that have no geothermal inflows is safe to eat."

Arsenic is naturally occurring in some rocks and geothermal water dissolves considerable amounts. The researchers collected aquatic plants such as parrot's feather, hornwort, watercress, willow weed and other oxygen weeds.

"We would like to find out how these aquatic plants accumulate arsenic, and whether they could be used to remove arsenic from drinking water. This may be a low-cost means of improving public health in countries like Bangladesh and West Bengal in India, where there are high levels of arsenic in the water that can result in widespread poisoning," said Dr Robinson.

Arsenic is a poisonous element that is persistent in the environment. In New Zealand, arsenic is a significant problem at an estimated 10,000 former sheep dip sites as well as in geothermal water, and even in sawdust and wood shavings from treated timber.

Words 257

For further information contact Brett Robinson, HortResearch Palmerston North Tel: +64-6-356 8080, Fax: +64-6-354 6731 Email: brobinson@hortresearch.co.nz

Paula McCool Writer Public Relations & Communications HortResearch Palmerston North tel 06 356 8080 extn 7785

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Scoop 3.0: How You Can Help Scoop’s Evolution

We have big plans for 2018 as we look to expand our public interest journalism coverage, upgrade our publishing infrastructure and offer even more valuable business tools to commercial users of Scoop. More>>


Statistics: Butter At Record $5.67/Block; High Vegetable Prices

Rising dairy prices have pushed food prices up 2.7 percent in the year to October 2017, Stats NZ said today. This followed a 3.0 percent increase in the year to September 2017. More>>

ALSO:

Science: New Research Finds Herbicides Cause Antibiotic Resistance

New University of Canterbury research confirms that the active ingredients of the commonly used herbicides, RoundUp, Kamba and 2,4-D (glyphosate, dicamba and 2,4-D, respectively), each alone cause antibiotic resistance at concentrations well below label application rates. More>>

ALSO:

CO2 And Water: Fonterra's Environment Plans

Federated Farmers support Fonterra’s bold push to get to zero emissions of CO2 on the manufacturing side of the Co-operative, both in New Zealand and across its global network. More>>

ALSO:

Fisheries: Decision To Delay Monitoring ‘Fatally Flawed’

Conservation group representatives say a decision by the new Minister of Fisheries, Stuart Nash, to delay implementation of camera monitoring of fishing efforts in New Zealand is ‘fatally flawed’. More>>

ALSO:

Kaikōura Quakes: One Year On

State Highway One and the railway were blocked by damage and slips and the Inland Road suffered significant damage. Farms, homes and businesses suffered building and land damage. Power and internet went down, drinking water systems, sewage systems and local roads were all badly affected... More>>

ALSO: