Plant and Soil

, Volume 331, Issue 1–2, pp 439–451 | Cite as

Complexation of cadmium in seeds and vegetative tissues of the cadmium hyperaccumulator Thlaspi praecox as studied by X-ray absorption spectroscopy

  • Katarina Vogel-MikušEmail author
  • Iztok Arčon
  • Alojz Kodre
Regular Article


The cadmium hyperaccumulator Thlaspi praecox Wulfen (Brassicaceae) can accumulate unusually high amounts of Cd (>1,000 μg g−1 dry weight) in its seeds without drastically affecting seed viability. As embryonic tissues are the most sensitive to Cd toxicity, the aim of this study was to investigate the Cd coordination and ligand environment in seeds of field collected T. praecox using extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS), and to compare the Cd ligand environment to that in the vegetative tissues of the plant. In intact seeds and isolated embryos, almost two thirds of the Cd ligands were thiol groups (Cd-S-C-). In addition, there was coordination to phosphate groups via bridging oxygens (Cd-O-P-), as for phytate, although this ligand was not observed in the vegetative organs and tissues. In roots and shoots up to 80% of the Cd ligands were oxygen ligands that are provided by the cell walls and by organic acids stored in vacuoles. In leaf epidermis only a slightly higher percentage of oxygen ligands was detected, as compared to the mesophyll, making vacuolar compartmentation and binding to the cell walls the main detoxification mechanisms in both of these leaf tissues.


Hyperaccumulation EXAFS Metal pollution Cd Embryonic tissues 



We acknowledge the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, Grenoble, France, for provision of synchrotron radiation facilities (project EC 398). This study was supported by the Slovenian Research Agency Research Programmes P1-0112 and P1-0212, and the IAEA framework of coordinated research project RC 13858 “Unification of nuclear spectrometries: integrated techniques as a new tool for materials research” (Head, Dr. Peter Kump). We would also like to thank Dr. Peter Kump and Dr. Marijan Nečemer of the Jožef Stefan Institute, Ljubljana, for EDXRF analyses of Cd in plant tissues, and Dr. Marco Vaccari for assistance in using the “BM29” ESRF beamline.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katarina Vogel-Mikuš
    • 1
    Email author
  • Iztok Arčon
    • 2
    • 3
  • Alojz Kodre
    • 4
    • 3
  1. 1.Biotechnical FacultyUniversity of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia
  2. 2.University of Nova GoricaNova GoricaSlovenia
  3. 3.Jožef Stefan InstituteLjubljanaSlovenia
  4. 4.Faculty of Mathematics and PhysicsUniversity of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia

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