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Towards financially viable phytoextraction and production of plant-based palladium catalysts

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JournalEnvironmental science & technology
DateAccepted/In press - 13 Feb 2017
DateE-pub ahead of print - 13 Feb 2017
DatePublished (current) - 7 Mar 2017
Issue number5
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)2992-3000
Early online date13/02/17
Original languageEnglish


Although a promising technique, phytoextraction has yet to see significant commercialization. Major limitations include metal uptake rates and subsequent processing costs. However, it has been shown that liquid-culture-grown Arabidopsis can take up and store palladium as nanoparticles. The processed plant biomass has catalytic activity comparable to that of commercially available catalysts, creating a product of higher value than extracted bulk metal. We demonstrate that the minimum level of palladium in Arabidopsis dried tissues for catalytic activity comparable to commercially available 3% palladium-on-carbon catalysts was achieved from dried plant biomass containing between 12
and 18 g·kg-1 39 Pd. To advance this technology, species suitable for in-the-field application: mustard, miscanthus and sixteen willow species and cultivars, were tested. These species were able to grow, and take up, palladium from both synthetic and mine-sourced tailings. Although levels of palladium accumulation in field-suitable species are below that required for commercially available 3% palladium-on-carbon catalysts, this study both sets the target, and is a step towards, the development of field-suitable species that concentrate catalytically-
45 active levels of palladium. Life cycle assessment on the phytomining approaches described here indicates that the use of plants to accumulate palladium for industrial applications has the potential to decrease the overall environmental impacts associated with extracting palladium using present-day mining processes.

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© 2017 American Chemical Society. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details


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