Arhiv za higijenu rada i toksikologiju

Growth and photosynthetic responses of Lemna minor L. exposed to cadmium in combination with zinc or copper.

PMID 26110476


Metals have a variety of negative outcomes on plants, essential components of any ecosystem. The effects of CdCl2 (5 μmol L-1), ZnCl2 (25 or 50 μmol L-1), and CuCl2 (2.5 or 5 μmol L-1) and combinations of CdCl2 with either ZnCl2 or CuCl2 on the growth, photosynthetic pigments, and photosystem II (PSII) efficiency of duckweed (Lemna minor L.) were investigated. All of the treatments caused growth inhibition and remarkable metal accumulation in plant tissue after 4 and 7 days. In the combined treatments, the accumulation of each metal applied was lesser in comparison to treatments with single metals. After 4 days, all of the treatments generally diminished chlorophyll a content and decreased the maximum quantum yield (Fv/Fm) and effective quantum yield (ΔF/F'm) of PSII. However, after 7 days of exposure to a combination of Cd and Zn, pigment content and PSII activity recovered to control levels. A higher concentration of Cu (5 μmol L-1) as well as Cd in combination with Cu had a prolonged inhibitory effect on photosynthetic features. Our results suggest that growth inhibition was due to the toxic effect of absolute metal quantity in plant tissue. Zn counteracted Cd uptake, as seen from the recovery of pigment content and PSII efficiency in plants exposed for 7 days to the Cd and Zn combination. Cu-induced oxidative stress led to a prolonged inhibitory effect in plants treated both with a higher concentration of Cu (5 μmol L-1) and simultaneously with Cd and Cu. Our findings could contribute to general knowledge on anthropogenic and environmental contaminants that endanger plant communities and significantly disrupt the sensitive balance of an ecosystem by influencing photosynthetic mechanisms.