Anatomical and ultrastructural responses of Hordeum sativum to the soil spiked by copper

  • Tatiana Minkina
  • Vishnu RajputEmail author
  • Grigory Fedorenko
  • Alexey Fedorenko
  • Saglara Mandzhieva
  • Svetlana Sushkova
  • Tatiana Morin
  • Jun Yao
Original Paper


Effects of Cu toxicity from contaminated soil were analysed in spring barley (Hordeum sativum distichum), a widely cultivated species in South Russia. In this study, H. sativum was planted outdoors in one of the most fertile soils—Haplic Chernozem spiked with high concentration of Cu and examined between the boot and head emergence phase of growth. Copper toxicity was observed to cause slow ontogenetic development of plants, changing their morphometric parameters (shape, size, colour). To the best of our knowledge, the ultrastructural changes in roots, stems and leaves of H. sativum induced by excess Cu were fully characterized for the first time using transmission electron microscopy. The plant roots were the most effected, showing degradation of the epidermis, reduced number of parenchyma cells, as well as a significant decrease in the diameter of the stele and a disruption and modification to its cell structure. The comparative analysis of the ultrastructure of control plants and plants exposed to the toxic effects of Cu has made it possible to reveal significant disruption of the integrity of the cell wall and cytoplasmic membranes in the root with deposition of electron-dense material. The changes in the ultrastructure of the main cytoplasmic organelles—endoplasmic reticulum, mitochondria, chloroplasts and peroxisomes—in the stem and leaves were found. The cellular Cu deposition, anatomical and ultrastructural modifications could mainly account for the primary impact points of metal toxicity. Therefore, this work extends the available knowledge of the mechanisms of the Cu effect tolerance of barley.


Anatomy Barley (Hordeum sativum distichum) Cellular ultrastructure Copper Toxicity 



This work was supported by the Ministry of Education and Science of Russia, Project No. 5.948.2017/PCh and Russian Academy of Sciences, Project No. AAAA-A19-119011190176-7.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Southern Federal UniversityRostov-on-DonRussia
  2. 2.Southern Scientific Center of Russian Academy of SciencesRostov-on-DonRussia
  3. 3.Environmental Sciences Analytical CenterBrooklyn CollegeBrooklynUSA
  4. 4.China University of GeosciencesBeijingChina

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