Effect of some light rare earth elements on seed germination, seedling growth and antioxidant metabolism in Triticum durum.

PMID 19215958


Rare earth elements (REEs) enriched fertilizers have been commonly used in China since the 1980s, thus inducing a growing concern about their environmental impact in agriculture. In this work, the effect of some light REEs nitrate mixture and La(3+) nitrate on seed germination, seedling growth and antioxidant metabolism in Triticum durum was investigated with the aim of clarifying the potential benefits or damages of REEs on plants. Seed pre-soaking for 8 h with La(3+) and REEs nitrate inhibited seed germination at low concentrations (0.01 mM and 0.1 mM), while pre-soaking for 2 and 4 h already inhibited seed germination when higher concentrations (1 mM and 10 mM) of La(3+) and REEs nitrate were used. La(3+) and REEs nitrate treatment also affected seedling growth. Root growth was enhanced and inhibited at low and high concentrations, respectively. Shoot growth was inhibited by La(3+) and REEs nitrate at all tested concentrations after 12 d of treatments. Enzymatic and non enzymatic antioxidants were differently affected by La(3+) and REEs nitrate and their behaviour changed also depending on the plant organ. In roots La(3+) and REEs nitrate treatments induced an increase in ascorbate (ASC) and glutathione (GSH) contents. In shoots only La(3+) nitrate induced an increase in the ASC content whereas GSH decreased following both La(3+) and REEs nitrate treatments. An increase in ASC peroxidase activity was observed in shoots and roots, while catalase did not change in roots and slightly decreased in shoots. The possible role of the increase in some antioxidants as indicators of stress caused by lanthanide treatments is discussed.

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