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在植物中种植金属可能是可持续技术的未来

Farming Metal From Plants Could Be the Future of Sustainable Tech

Some plants are totally metal…
有一些植物完全就是金属的
and I’m not just talking about venus fly traps.
我可不仅仅是在说金属捕蝇草
There are plants that literally ooze metal!
有些植物会渗出含有金属物质的汁液
And we’re farming them!
而且 我们正在种植他们!
But first, we gotta back it up a little bit.
首先 我们先学点背景知识
In the ground beneath our feet, there can be all kinds of different metals.
我们脚下的土地里 存在各种不同的金属物质
Not in the form you and I might picture them, like in a can or in your car,
不是我们想像的如罐头或汽车上那种形态的金属
but in a much more unrefined, elemental form.
而是以未经提炼的元素形式存在
And it turns out, some plants have evolved to absorb lots of metal
结果 一些植物经过进化后可通过根茎
from these soils, through their roots.
从土壤中吸收许多金属
These helpful superstars are called hyperaccumulators,
这些有益的超级明星被称为超积累植物
and there are lots of different kinds.
并且种类繁多
After sucking up all that “tasty metal”, hyperaccumulating plants do just that
吸收掉那些“美味的”金属后 超积累植物
they accumulate that metal in their bodies.
就会在体内积累这些金属
If you can call them that. Do plants have bodies?
如果你能这么叫的话 植物有身体吗?
Whatever, you get the point.
无所谓了 你懂的
Now the metal is inside them,
现在金属进入了植物内部
it’s literally running through their vascular structures in their sap,
金属通过它们的维束管 进入汁液
or even their shoots, seeds, and leaves.
甚至进入枝条 种子和叶片中
So now, we can extract it from the plant,
所以 我们通过对植物进行提取
which has so handily brought it all together for us.
可以方便的把金属聚集到一起
A group of researchers working on a small trial farm
一组研究者在加里曼丹岛的马来西亚侧
on the Malaysian side of the island of Borneo is already trying this
开辟了小型实验田 利用积累镍的植物
with a plant that accumulates nickel.
进行植物金属提取实验
Every six to twelve months or so, the farmer can harvest about
每6到12个月左右 农民可以收获
this length of metal-filled plant tissue,
约这么长的金属富集植物组织
and through purification, then have all this metal, no mining required.
经过提纯 不需采矿便可获得所有金属
Nickel in particular is an essential component of stainless steel,
镍是组成不锈钢的主要成分
like what you might see in your kitchen,
比如你的不锈钢厨房用品
and we’re seeing increasing demand for both it and its derivatives
我们对镍及其衍生产品的需求越来越多
for things like electric car batteries and even your cell phone.
比如制作电动汽车电池甚至是你的手机
But mining it – just like mining other heavy metals
但开采镍就像开采其他重金属
and rare earth elements – is extremely destructive.
以及稀有金属一样 有极强破坏性
Not only because you’re literally cutting open the earth,
不仅是因为要对土地进行大规模挖掘
but because you’re leaving behind some really intense chemical pollution as you refine it, too.
而且在提炼过程中会产生严重的化学污染
The process we humans have traditionally used to extract the metal
人们从生矿石中提取金属的传统过程
from its raw form in the ground is called “smelting,”
被称为“熔炼”
and it involves lots of energy-intensive heating and melting,
包括许多能源密集型加热和融化
plus purifying chemicals and lots of waste products.
以及精炼用的化学品和大量废物
So, as our world’s boundless appetite for things
所以随着我们的世界对金属物质
like cobalt, zinc, and other heavy metals continues to grow,
比如钴 锌以及其他重金属的需求不断上升
we’re seeing a serious environmental impact.
我们看到了严重的环境影响
That comes in the form of water, soil and air pollution
表现为水 土壤和空气污染
not only from smelting’s byproducts, but also from the metal itself,
这些污染 不仅源自熔炼副产物 而且源自金属本身
which can be really poisonous when inhaled or ingested.
当我们吸入或摄入时 这些金属也会对人体产生毒性
So, being able to farm these metals, instead?
所以 如果可以用“种植”金属代替开采
Yes, please.
好的 来吧!
The plants are basically natural, solar-powered smelters
植物基本上就是天然的太阳能冶金厂
they do the whole thing for us in a totally self-contained way.
它以完全自足的方式为我们完成了所有工作
And this concept is called “bioharvesting,”
这个概念被称作“生物收获”
or more specifically, “phytomining.”
更具体来说是“植物冶金”
Which basically means we’re farming metal,
基本上意味着我们在种植金属
which just sounds way too cool for this reality.
这听起来真是太酷了
But that’s not all.
但这还不是全部
Because remember that pollution I was just talking about?
还记得我刚才说的污染问题吗?
In addition to being a sustainable source of heavy metals
超积累植物除了能够成为重金属
and maybe eventually even rare earth elements,
甚至是稀土元素的可持续来源
this hyperaccumulators can also be used to clean up heavy metal pollution.
还可以用作清理重金属污染
Another research group has been studying copper- and zinc- accumulating plants.
另一个研究小组研究了铜和锌超积累植物
They’ve shown that plants – specifically Brassica juncea, a kind of mustard plant
他们表示植物 尤其是一种芥子植物-芥菜
and Sedum alfredii, a common Asian herb,
以及一种常见的亚洲草药-东南景天
could uptake heavy metals from a polluted copper-zinc mine.
能够从受污染的铜锌矿中吸收重金属
This helped clean up the site, a process called phytoremediation.
这个过程叫做植物修复 帮助净化了这片区域
And then the team was able to process those plant tissues
然后这个团队可以加工这些植物组织
and use the bio-accumulated metal
随后用生物积累所得到的金属
to make carbon nanotubes and carbon zinc-oxide nanoparticles,
制作碳纳米管和碳/氧化锌纳米颗粒
both of which can be used to advance all kinds of exciting electronics
它们俩可用来发展令人振奋的电子工业
and energy technologies.
以及能源技术
So, not only did you clean up the pollution,
所以 你不仅能够清除污染
but you were then able to still use that material
还能够利用那些污染材料
instead of having to find a way of safely disposing of it,
而不是想方设法安全的处理它们
and you made something really useful out of it.
甚至利用它们做出了一些有用的东西
It kinda feels like we could really be on our way
各位 貌似我们已经准备好
to getting this recycling thing down, you guys.
圆满完成这项回收利用工作了
Exciting as it is, all of this is still in its beginning stages.
虽然令人兴奋 但是这些技术仍处于起步阶段
Scientists are working hard on optimizing growing techniques and understanding
科学家为了使植物冶金能够与已有方法竞争
ideal growth and accumulation conditions to make this phytomining thing
正在努力研究超积累植物最佳种植技术
a really strong competitor to the existing methods.
并了解它们理想的生长和金属积累条件
They even say with further development of the science,
他们甚至说 随着科学的发展
they think this process could expand all over the globe
这项技术可以在全球扩展进行
really changing what we mean when we say a “grassroots solution.”
真正将“草根方法”发扬光大
One last fun fact:
一个有趣的事实:
scientists think that it may have been helpful for hyperaccumulators
科学家认为 进化出在组织中储存金属的能力
to evolve the ability to store these metals in their tissues
对于超积累植物是有利的
so they would be toxic to predators.
这样 它们可以对捕食者产生毒性
Pretty cool.
真是太酷了
If you want more surprising melding of nature and tech
如果你想了解更多自然与技术的精妙融合
check out my other video on graphene-enhanced mushrooms over here.
可以看我关于石墨烯仿生蘑菇发电的视频
And keep coming back to Seeker for all of your news on botanical advancements.
记得时常回《探索新闻台》收看植物学新进展
As always, thanks so much for watching, and I’ll see you next time!
感谢收看 我们下次见!

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视频概述

超积累植物可以从土壤中吸收并积累金属,科学家正在研究从中提取金属的方法。利用传统方式采矿极具破坏性,冶炼金属也会对环境产生不良影响。那么如何从这些超级明星植物中提取金属呢?利用植物获取金属是否现实?让我们到视频中寻找答案!

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翻译译者

小黑

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审核员SR

视频来源

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdgQkVwppzc

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