Scientists from Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia have found gold in the leaves of eucalyptus trees found in the Kalgoorlie region of Western Australia. The trees draw up gold particles from the earth with the help of their roots and deposit it in their leaves and branches.
The gold particles were detected using CSIRO’s Maia detector x-ray elemental imaging at the Australian Synchrotron. Maia produced images depicting gold in the leaves which is virtually untraceable. It was found that the eucalypt uses its roots as hydraulic pump that extend tens of metres into the ground during times of drought to draw up water containing gold. The gold being toxic to the plant is moved to the leaves and branches where it can be released or shed.
Although it is purely gold, the nuggets of gold are only about one-fifth of the diameter of a human hair which means that 500 trees growing over a gold deposit would yield gold enough for a wedding ring. But the true purpose that this discovery might serve is providing a great opportunity for mineral exploration, as the leaves or soil underneath the trees could indicate gold ore deposits buried deep in the ground.
Scientists stated that it would usher in a new way of exploration by sampling and analyzing vegetation for traces of minerals without the need to use a drill. This would be both environment and economy friendly.