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Re: Plants for toxic areas

At 04:17 PM 1/24/97 -0500, James M Kocher wrote:
>I understand that mustard plants can be used to soak up toxins, such as
>lead, from the soil.  The plants are then destroyed and not composted of
>course.  It is alo my understanding that fruit in general does not
>absorb toxins readily from the soil and thus can be planted safely in
>such areas.
>What other plants can be used to absorb toxins, and what other plants
>are safe to plant and eat from in such areas?
>Jim Kocher-Hillmer, Pittsburgh  PA  USA        
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>                 |

Dr. Rufus Chaney has done a lot of research work on this.  Some of that work
focussed on sunflowers which take up cadmium and lead.  When I spoke with
him 5 or so years ago, he was at the USDA and his number was 301/344-3324,
but that may well have changed by now. This year I understand he was a
speaker at the Seeds of Change Bioneers Conference in San Francisco,
speaking about bioremediation using plants.

FYI - Sunflowers in Europe must meet pretty tough standards for cadmium and
lead content before they can be sold.  Sunflowers take up cadmium so readily
that by European standards many sunflowers are not considered safe for
consumption even when grown on uncontaminated soils.  The U.S. has no such

  Greg Jarrett     gregj9@intellinet.com
   P.O. Box 93
    Fox, Arkansas  72051
      501/363-4532  fax 363-4578