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


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.

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We are grateful to the SIS (Società Italiana Sementi, Bologna, Italy) for supplying seeds. Thanks also to Dr. Gráinne Mulhern for English language revision and for useful comments.

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Correspondence to Giovanna Visioli.

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Visioli, G., Conti, F.D., Gardi, C. et al. Germination and Root Elongation Bioassays in Six Different Plant Species for Testing Ni Contamination in Soil. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 92, 490–496 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00128-013-1166-5

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  • Phytotoxicity
  • Bioassay
  • Soil toxicity
  • Nickel
  • Bioindicator