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Mangrove trees, particularly their leaf litter, filter copper out of soil and water

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Mangroves vital for environmental decontamination

August 3 2017 ScienceDaily

A new study from Indonesia has found that their leaf litter accumulates the most copper, followed by leaves and then roots…..

They found that copper concentrations in the plant material were up to ten times more than the water samples. Leaf litter carried the highest concentration, followed by live leaves and then roots, according to the study published in the Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science.

The results confirm findings from several other studies and demonstrate the mangrove’s ability to defend “itself against contaminated environments by excreting copper through its leaves, which will then be discarded through defoliation.” Mangroves are able to do this better than many other plant species, due in part to their adaptation to living in coastal zones, where they absorb and eliminate salt in a similar way.

As the leaf litter breaks down, copper can then be reintroduced back to the soil and water. However, the researchers suspect the impact is minimal: the estimated amount released is less than 3.5 percent of the total absorbed, and is spread over a large area.

Martuti, N. K. T., Widianarko, B., and Yulianto, B. Translocation and Elimination of Cu in Avicennia marina. Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science, 2017

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