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Eclipta prostrata plant can remove lead from soil: study

Date: 03 February 2019 Tags: Miscellaneous

Researchers have identified native roadside plant Eclipta prostrata (False Daisy) that can take up lead from soil and help in removing metal from environment. The plant was found to have highest lead tolerance. It can accumulate lead at about 12,000 microgram/g of dry weight in root and 7,000 microgram/g of dry weight in its shoot.

Eclipta prostrata (False Daisy)

It is found across Indian subcontinent. It is known ‘Bhringraj’ (Karisalankanni in Tamil). It is medicinal plant used as ‘hair-growth stimulant’ and in many ayurvedic preparations. Tribal people use it antidote for snake bites and treatment of scorpion stings.

Significance of Study

It shows that Eclipta prostrata plant is lead hyperaccumulator i.e. it has suitable biochemical machinery and may be using lead to protect itself from the pests, or other predators without having toxic effects on itself. It can be used bioremediation of lead-contaminated soil.

Way forward

  • This experiment was carried out using a soluble salt of lead (lead nitrate), so more studies are needed in contaminated environments where lead is usually found in insoluble forms.
  • To overcome this problem, solubility of lead can be increased by adding some solubilising agents (metal chelators) in soil so that it becomes bioavailable to plant.
  • Chelators have long residence time and can percolate well, so they will react with ead in the soil and make it in a form available to the plant.

Lead Poisoning

  • Lead is highly toxic metal and very strong poison. Its poisoning is serious and sometimes fatal condition. It occurs when lead builds up in the body.
  • It can cause severe mental and physical impairment. Brain is most sensitive part in human body with respect to lead poisoning.
  • Young children and infants are most vulnerable to it because their brains and nervous systems are still developing. Lead poisoning can be treated, but any damage caused cannot be reversed.