The Golden Tree Turns Out To Be In Indonesia, This Is The Explanation Of IPB University Experts

Indonesia has plants that can produce gold.  These precious metals can be extracted from plants that absorb heavy metals (including precious metals).

In his presentation during the Scientific Oration of Permanent Professor of IPB University, last weekend Prof. Hamim explained that heavy metals are components that are not easily degraded and their presence in the soil can reach hundreds of years.

“In plants, heavy metal toxicity causes inhibition of photosynthesis, root and canopy growth which results in decreased production and can even cause death.  Heavy metals can spread through the food chain biologically, thus endangering human health," said this Permanent Professor of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences (FMIPA) of IPB University.

According to him, plants have a physiological mechanism that allows them to absorb heavy metals from their environment.  This plant can be used as an environmental cleaning agent known as phytoremediation.

“Some types of plants can absorb heavy metals in large quantities in their tissues, called hyperaccumulator plants.  Besides being able to be used in phytoremediation, this plant can also be used to mine metals that have high economic value such as nickel, silver, gold, platinum and thallium or an activity known as phytomining,” he added.
Hyperaccumulator plants are usually found in areas with high metal content such as serpentine and ultramafic soils.  Indonesia is one of the countries with the largest ultramafic land in the world, covering the areas of Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Maluku to Papua.

"However, the potential of hyperaccumulator plants in this area has not been explored optimally, so it needs attention from various parties so that its potential can be explored and utilized for phytoremediation and phytomining purposes," he explained.
According to him, in addition to hyperaccumulator plants that live in ultramafic areas, several types of non-edible oil-producing plants such as Jatropha (Jatropha curcas), castor jatropha (Ricinus communis), mindi (Melia azedarach) and sunan candlenut (Reutealis) are also available.  trisperma) and aromatic plants (essential oil producers) such as Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides) also have great potential to be used as phytoremediation and phytomining agents.

“The experimental results prove that these plant species are able to survive in liquid media containing Pb and Hg as well as in gold mine tailings media.  Among the four non-food oil-producing species used, Kemiri sunan (R. trisperma) is among the most resistant to treatment with heavy metals and gold mine tailings,” he said.

He said that some plants around gold mines could also be an alternative genetic source for gold metal hyperaccumulator plants.  The results of plant exploration around the tailings dam of PT Antam UBPE Pongkor's gold mine show that almost all plant species that grow there have the ability to accumulate gold even at low levels.

“The amaranth-spinach (Amaranthus) group that grows around the tailings has the highest gold accumulation ability, but because of its low biomass, its phytomining potential is low.  Lembang plant (Typha angustifolia) is also quite high in accumulating gold metal (Au).  Typha can produce 5-7 grams of gold per hectare.  This of course requires further exploration,” he said.

Meanwhile, in his experiments, the use of dark septate endophyte and mycorrhizal fungi was proven to help plants adapt to heavy metal polluted environments.  This fungus can help phytoremediation programs.

“The use of ammonium thiocyanate (NH4SCN) as a gold solvent ligand can also increase the uptake of gold by plants and increase plant biomass.  This is a good potential for the phytomining program in gold mine tailings,” he concluded.  (**/Zul) (IAAS/ADV)

Published Date : 23-Nov-2021

Resource Person : Prof Hamim

Keyword : Gold, Mining, Phytoremediation, Phytomining, IPB University, Permanent Professor, FMIPA