Plants of Indian mustard (Brassica Juncea L.) were exposed to different concentrations (15, 30, 60, 120 μM) of (Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb) for 28 and 56 d for accumulation and detoxification studies. Metal accumulation in roots and shoots were analyzed and it was observed that roots
accumulated a significant amount of Cd (1980 μg g−1 dry weight), Cr (1540 μg g−1 dry weight), Cu (1995 μg g−1 dry weight), and Pb (2040 μg g−1 dry weight) after 56 d of exposure, though in shoot this was 1110,
618, 795, and 409 μg g−1 dry weight of Cd, Cr, Cu, and Pb, respectively. In order to assess detoxification mechanisms, non-protein thiols (NP-SH), glutathione (GSH) and phytochelatins (PCs) were analyzed in plants. An increase in the quantity of NP-SH (9.55), GSH (8.30),
and PCs (1.25) μmol g−1 FW were found at 15 μM of Cd, however, a gradual decline in quantity was observed from 15 μM of Cd onwards, after 56 d of exposure. For genotoxicity in plants, cytogenetic end-points such as mitotic index (MI), micronucleus formation (MN),
mitotic aberrations (MA) and chromosome aberrations (CA) were examined in root meristem cells of B. juncea. Exposure of Cd revealed a significant (P < 0.05) inhibition of MI, induction of MA, CA, and MN in the root tips for 24 h. However, cells examined at 24 h post-exposure showed
concentration-wise recovery in all the end-points. The data revealed that Indian mustard could be used as a potential accumulator of Cd, Cr, Cu, and Pb due to a good tolerance mechanisms provided by combined/concerted action of NP-SH, GSH, and PCs. Also, exposure of Cd can cause genotoxic
effects in B. juncea L. through chromosomal mutations, MA, and MN formation.
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