Potential of Chilopsis linearis for gold phytomining: Using XAS to determine gold reduction and nanoparticle formation within plant tissues
International Journal of Phytoremediation
This study reports on the capability of the desert plant Chilopsis linearis (Cav.) Sweet (desert willow) to uptake gold (Au) from gold-enriched media at different plant-growth stages. Plants were exposed to 20, 40, 80, 160, and 320 mg Au L-1 in agar-based growing media for 13, 18, 23, and 35 d. The Au content and oxidation state of Au in the plants were determined using an inductively coupled plasma/optical emission spectrometer (ICP/OES) and X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS), respectively. Gold concentrations ranging from 20 to 80 mg Au L-1 did not significantly affect Chilopsis linearis plant growth. The concentration of gold in the plants increased as the age of the plant increased. The Au concentrations in leaves for the 20, 40, 80, and 160 mg Au L-1 treatments were 32, 60, 62, and 179 mg Au kg-1 dry weight mass, respectively, demonstrating the gold uptake capability of desert willow. The XAS data indicated that desert willow produced gold nanoparticles within plant tissues. Plants exposed to 160 mg Au L-1 formed nanoparticles that averaged approximately 8, 35, and 18 Å in root, stem, and leaves, respectively. It was observed that the average size of the Au nanoparticles formed by the plants is related to the total Au concentration in tissues and their location in the plant. Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.