, Volume 252, Issue 2, pp 399–413 | Cite as

Minimising toxicity of cadmium in plants—role of plant growth regulators

  • Mohd. Asgher
  • M. Iqbal R. Khan
  • Naser A. AnjumEmail author
  • Nafees A. KhanEmail author
Review Article


A range of man-made activities promote the enrichment of world-wide agricultural soils with a myriad of chemical pollutants including cadmium (Cd). Owing to its significant toxic consequences in plants, Cd has been one of extensively studied metals. However, sustainable strategies for minimising Cd impacts in plants have been little explored. Plant growth regulators (PGRs) are known for their role in the regulation of numerous developmental processes. Among major PGRs, plant hormones (such as auxins, gibberellins, cytokinins, abscisic acid, jasmonic acid, ethylene and salicylic acid), nitric oxide (a gaseous signalling molecule), brassinosteroids (steroidal phytohormones) and polyamines (group of phytohormone-like aliphatic amine natural compounds with aliphatic nitrogen structure) have gained attention by agronomist and physiologist as a sustainable media to induce tolerance in abiotic-stressed plants. Considering recent literature, this paper: (a) overviews Cd status in soil and its toxicity in plants, (b) introduces major PGRs and overviews their signalling in Cd-exposed plants, (c) appraises mechanisms potentially involved in PGR-mediated enhanced plant tolerance to Cd and (d) highlights key aspects so far unexplored in the subject area.


Cadmium Toxicity Plant growth regulators Phytohormones Tolerance 



MA, MIRK and NAK are grateful to the University Grants Commission (UGC) and Department of Biotechnology (DBT), New Delhi (India) for partial financial support. NAA is grateful to the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) for post-doctoral fellowship (SFRH/BPD/84671/2012).

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.


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© Springer-Verlag Wien 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BotanyAligarh Muslim UniversityAligarhIndia
  2. 2.CESAM-Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies and Department of ChemistryUniversity of AveiroAveiroPortugal

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