Just imagine there were “superplants”. Plants that are quite normal in appearance but possess almost magical abilities. Little plants, which could help us mitigate problems like environmental pollution, shortages of raw materials and poverty. And these superplants do exist! Hyperaccumulators are plants that store so many heavy metals in their leaves that can decontaminate soil. Others can even be used to gather the accumulated raw materials. In the jungle of the South Sea paradise of New Caledonia, open-cast nickel mining has left huge scars in the landscape. Phyllanthus balgooyi, an unremarkable little plant, helps scientists restore this contaminated wasteland. Meanwhile in Albania, farmers are purposely harvesting nickel-accumulating plants for the first time. Plants that have been regarded as useless weed, can now open up new ways of sustenance for them.
Tuberculosis seems to have been wiped out – but now the epidemic is returning with a vengeance. According to the World Health Organization, there are ten million new cases reported globally per year. Not only veterans who have been infected are having recurring episodes, tourists and business travelers are seeking help as well. Refugees might also carry the disease abroad from their homeland where tuberculosis is rife. But it has been decades since tuberculosis broke out last time, and there are not many medical experts and facilities in this field today. How are the hospitals and health authorities coping with the challenges? How are those affected dealing with the exhausting treatments? More than 100 years after the discovery of tuberculosis, the battle against the illness begins anew.