Gold Particles Discovered in Leaves of Eucalyptus Trees

Posted on October 23, 2013

Eucalyptus leaf containing traces of gold

Scientists from The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have discovered gold particles in the leaves of Eucalyptus trees. The trees draw up the gold particles from the Earth via their root system and deposit in their leaves and branches. Using CSIRO's Maia detector for x-ray elemental imaging at the Australian Synchrotron, the research team was able to locate and see the gold in the leaves. An image of a eucalyptus leaf containing traces of gold is pictured above.

CSIRO geochemist Dr Mel Lintern said in a statement, "The eucalypt acts as a hydraulic pump - its roots extend tens of metres into the ground and draw up water containing the gold. As the gold is likely to be toxic to the plant, it's moved to the leaves and branches where it can be released or shed to the ground."

The traces of gold found in the leaves is too minute to spark a gold rush, but scientists say the discovery could be used to indicate where gold deposits are buried up to tens of meters under ground. They also say it could be used to find other metals, such as zinc and copper. Take a look:

The research was published here in the journal, Nature Communications.

Photo: CSIRO