Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 24, Issue 21, pp 17669–17678 | Cite as

Citric acid enhanced the antioxidant defense system and chromium uptake by Lemna minor L. grown in hydroponics under Cr stress

  • Rasham Sallah-Ud-Din
  • Mujahid FaridEmail author
  • Rashid Saeed
  • Shafaqat Ali
  • Muhammad Rizwan
  • Hafiz Muhammad Tauqeer
  • Syed Asad Hussain Bukhari
Research Article


Phytoextraction is a cost-effective and eco-friendly technique for the removal of pollutants, mainly heavy metal(loids) especially from polluted water and metal-contaminated soils. The phytoextraction of heavy metals is, in general, limited due to the low availability of heavy metals in the growth medium. Organic chelators can help to improve the phytoextraction by increasing metal mobility and solubility in the growth medium. The present research was carried out to examine the possibility of citric acid (CA) in improving chromium (Cr) phytoextraction by Lemna minor (duckweed). For this purpose, healthy plants were collected from nearby marsh and grown in hydroponics under controlled conditions. Initial metal contents of both marsh water and plant were measured along with physico-chemical properties of the marsh water. Different concentrations of Cr and CA were applied in the hydroponics in different combinations after defined intervals. Continuous aeration was supplied and pH maintained at 6.5 ± 0.1. Results showed that increasing concentration of Cr significantly decreased the plant biomass, photosynthetic pigments, leaf area, and antioxidant enzyme activities (like catalase, ascorbate peroxidase, superoxide dismutase, peroxidase). Furthermore, Cr stress increased the Cr concentrations, electrolyte leakage, hydrogen peroxide, and malondialdehyde contents in plants. The addition of CA alleviated the Cr-induced toxicity in plants and further enhanced the Cr uptake and its accumulation in L. minor. The addition of CA enhanced the Cr concentration in L. minor by 6.10, 26.5, 20.5, and 20.2% at 0, 10, 100, and 200 μM Cr treatments, respectively, compared to the respective Cr treatments without CA. Overall, the results of the present study showed that CA addition may enhance the Cr accumulation and tolerance in L. minor by enhancing the plant growth and activities of antioxidant enzymes.


Chromium Lemna minor Citric acid Photosynthetic pigments Antioxidants Reactive oxygen species Accumulation 



The authors are highly thankful to the University of Gujrat, Gujrat, Pakistan, and the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan for financial and technical support during this study.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental SciencesUniversity of GujratGujratPakistan
  2. 2.Department of Environmental Sciences and EngineeringGovernment College UniversityFaisalabadPakistan
  3. 3.Department of AgronomyBahauddin Zakariya UniversityMultanPakistan

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