Cadmium: From Toxicity to Essentiality

Volume 11 of the series Metal Ions in Life Sciences pp 395-413


Cadmium Toxicity in Plants

  • Elisa AndresenAffiliated withFachbereich Biologie, Universität Konstanz
  • , Hendrik KüpperAffiliated withFachbereich Biologie, Universität Konstanz Email author 

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Cadmium is an important pollutant in the environment, toxic to most organisms and a potential threat to human health: Crops and other plants take up Cd from the soil or water and may enrich it in their roots and shoots. In this review, we summarize natural and anthropogenic reasons for the occurrence of Cd toxicity, and evaluate the observed phytotoxic effects of plants growing in Cd-supplemented soil or nutrient solution. Cd-induced effects include oxidative stress, genotoxicity, inhibition of the photosynthetic apparatus, and inhibition of root metabolism. We explain proposed and possible interactions between these modes of toxicity. While discussing recent and older studies, we further emphasize the environmental relevance of the experiments and the physiological response of the plant.


cadmium cytotoxicity genotoxocity oxidative stress photosynthesis inhibition substitution of essential metals