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Your Environment. Your Health.

Progress Reports: University of Arizona: Importance of Capping Material Properties in Remediation of Mine Tailings

Superfund Research Program

Importance of Capping Material Properties in Remediation of Mine Tailings

Project Leader: Raina M. Maier
Co-Investigators: Alicja A. Babst-Kostecka (W. Szafer Institute of Botany), Julie W. Neilson, Craig Rasmussen
Grant Number: P42ES004940
Funding Period: 2020-2025
View this project in the NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT)

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Progress Reports

Year:   2020 

The objective of this project is to test the hypothesis that biophysiochemical properties of capping materials and plants (adapted vs. unadapted) used for revegetation of mine wastes are critical to plant development and performance. Toward this goal, the researchers have identified four sampling sites and successfully negotiated with the mining companies that own these sites to conduct coring and sampling operations at their facilities. The team has conducted one sampling campaign thus far. They also completed construction and are testing rhizobox system made of the capping materials previously collected.

The researchers collected seeds from quail bush plants from the Iron King Mine and Humboldt Smelter Superfund site (adapted) and from a roadside site just north of Phoenix, AZ (unadapted). They also completed a greenhouse study examining relationships between quail bush gene expression and microbial diversity as a function of compost amendment levels. Results suggest that this approach will allow identification of possible relationships between the root microbiome and plant gene expression and identify important microbial species that either promote or inhibit plant growth.

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