, Volume 251, Issue 1, pp 55-63

Different mechanisms account for enhanced copper resistance in Silene armeria ecotypes from mine spoil and serpentine sites

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The resistance to excess Cu was evaluated in solution culture in three ecotypes of Silene armeria from different origin, a garden soil (Cadriano), a serpentine site (Prinzera) and a Cu mine spoil (Vigonzano). Root elongation and viability staining of root tip cells were used as indicators for Cu resistance. The Cu resistance increased in the order Cadriano <Prinzera<Vigonzano. Renewal of the root cap in Prinzera and enhanced border cell production in Vigonzano in response to excess Cu provided a more efficient protection of the root tip meristem than in Cu sensitive Cadriano. The enhanced Cu resistance in Prinzeracould not be attributed to high soil Cu acting as a natural selection factor at the serpentine site. In PrinzeraCu exclusion from roots and shoots probably was a consequence of root impermeabilization causing reduced radial water and ion flux in roots. In contrast, the high Cu resistance in the mine spoil ecotype, Vigonzano, was due to both reduced Cu uptake and higher tissue tolerance of Cu.