As Cleese would say, "now for something completely different." And just in time for Halloween. Well certain species of trees and plants have already been used to clean up former landfills and contaminated soil areas but it would be very neat if a way were found to further modify them genetically to make them even more efficient at extracting contaminants ("enhanced phytoremediation"). Time is money and reduced cleanup times for impacted properties can save significant amounts of money!

'Mystery of 'ghost trees' unlocked?:

'Now a San Jose researcher is showing that these "ghosts of the forest" may be more than a biological novelty, perhaps solving a generations-old question. Zane Moore, a doctoral student at UC Davis, analyzed the needles of albino redwood leaves in a lab and found that they contain high levels of the toxic heavy metals nickel, copper and cadmium.

The phantom-like plants, which rarely grow more than 10 feet tall, appear to be drawing away and storing pollution, some of it occurring naturally in the soils — particularly shale soils — and some left from railroads, highways and other man-made sources that otherwise could degrade or kill redwoods.


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