Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology

, Volume 92, Issue 4, pp 490-496

First online:

Germination and Root Elongation Bioassays in Six Different Plant Species for Testing Ni Contamination in Soil

  • Giovanna VisioliAffiliated withDepartment of Life Sciences, University of Parma Email author 
  • , Federica D. ContiAffiliated withDepartment of Life Sciences, University of Parma
  • , Ciro GardiAffiliated withJoint Research Centre, Institute for Environment and Sustainability, European Commission
  • , Cristina MentaAffiliated withDepartment of Life Sciences, University of Parma

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In vitro short-term chronic phytotoxicity germination and root elongation test were applied to test the effects of nickel (Ni) in seed germination and root elongation in six plants species: Cucumis sativus (Cucurbitaceae), Lepidium sativum and Brassica nigra (Brassicaceae), Trifolium alexandrinum and Medicago sativa (Fabaceae), Phacelia tanacetifolia (Boraginaceae). A naturally Ni rich soil was used to compare the results obtained. Unlike root elongation, germination was not affected by Ni in any of the six species tested. EC50 values, calculated on the root elongation, showed that Ni toxicity decreases in the following order: P. tanacetifolia > B. nigra > C. sativus > L. sativum > M. sativa > T. alexandrinum. The test conducted using soil elutriate revealed a significantly lower effect in both seed germination and root elongation when compared to the results obtained using untreated soil. Conversely, the test performed on soil confirmed the high sensitivity of C. sativus, P. tanacetifolia and L. sativum to Ni.


Phytotoxicity Bioassay Soil toxicity Nickel Bioindicator