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Response of Phytochelatins and Their Relationship with Cadmium Toxicity in a Floating Macrophyte Pistia stratiotes L. at Environmentally Relevant Concentrations

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An indoor experiment was undertaken to investigate the response of phytochelatins and their relationship to cadmium toxicity in Pistia stratiotes L., a free-floating macrophyte, exposed to low concentrations of cadmium typically found in realistic environments. Cadmium concentrations of 0.01 to 0.08 µM had no toxic effects on the growth of this plant, as indicated by no significant changes in the fresh weights of leaves and roots and the slight induction of phytochelatins in plant tissues, whereas cadmium concentrations of 0.16 to 1 µM were toxic, and cadmium toxicity increased with the increase of cadmium concentrations in solutions, accompanied by the dramatic production of phytochelatins in plant tissues, especially in roots. There was a positive correction between root phytochelatin levels and cadmium toxicity, as measured by the growth inhibition rate of the root fresh weight. The results suggested that phytochelatins in aquatic macrophytes can serve as sensitive biomarkers for heavy metal toxicity in a moderately polluted water environment.

Keywords: Pistia stratiotes L; biomarker; cadmium; heavy metal toxicity; phytochelatins

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2175/106143009X442970

Publication date: February 1, 2010

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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