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Mechanisms of resistance to heavy metals in significant species in the Riotinto mining basin

14th national competition for scientific and technical research

Resistance of plants to pollution

Senior Researcher : Benito Valdés Castrillón

Research Centre or Institution : Facultad de Biología. Universidad de Sevilla


The project will be carried out over a three-year period to study the ecophysiology of certain species in one of the largest mining areas in Spain (Riotinto). Species growing in the mining area which are adapted to soils with high contamination levels will be identified, in addition to their metal exclusion and accumulation mechanisms, by studying the metal content in different parts of the plant and soil, enabling us to study the translocation and concentration factors. The mechanisms of high copper and zinc concentration resistance in the three most abundant species (Erica andevalensis Rivera & Cabezudo, E. australis L., Nerium oleander L.) will be studied through the analysis of physiological, structural and biochemical parameters. The compartmentation of heavy metals in plant tissues will also be studied under an electron microscope.

The project aims to contribute to the knowledge of heavy metal resistance processes developed by plants, in order to provide adequate guidance for recovery plans to restore degraded areas, fundamentally waste dumps, through the use of plant species.

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