Environmental science and pollution research international

Cadmium toxicity in Maize (Zea mays L.): consequences on antioxidative systems, reactive oxygen species and cadmium accumulation.

PMID 26122572


Increased cadmium (Cd) accumulation in soils has led to tremendous environmental problems, with pronounced effects on agricultural productivity. Present study investigated the effects of Cd stress imposed at various concentrations (0, 75, 150, 225, 300, 375 μM) on antioxidant activities, reactive oxygen species (ROS), Cd accumulation, and productivity of two maize (Zea mays L.) cultivars viz., Run Nong 35 and Wan Dan 13. Considerable variations in Cd accumulation and in behavior of antioxidants and ROS were observed under Cd stress in both maize cultivars, and such variations governed by Cd were concentration dependent. Exposure of plant to Cd stress considerably increased Cd concentration in all plant parts particularly in roots. Wan Dan 13 accumulated relatively higher Cd in root, stem, and leaves than Run Nong 35; however, in seeds, Run Nong 35 recorded higher Cd accumulation. All the Cd toxicity levels starting from 75 μM enhanced H2O2 and MDA concentrations and triggered electrolyte leakage in leaves of both cultivars, and such an increment was more in Run Nong 35. The ROS were scavenged by the enhanced activities of superoxide dismutase, peroxidase, catalase, ascorbate peroxidase, and glutathione peroxidase in response to Cd stress, and these antioxidant activities were higher in Wan Dan 13 compared with Run Nong 35 at all Cd toxicity levels. The grain yield of maize was considerably reduced particularly for Run Nong 35 under different Cd toxicity levels as compared with control. The Wan Dan 13 was better able to alleviate Cd-induced oxidative damage which was attributed to more Cd accumulation in roots and higher antioxidant activities in this cultivar, suggesting that manipulation of these antioxidants and enhancing Cd accumulation in roots may lead to improvement in Cd stress tolerance.