Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 17, pp 16686–16701 | Cite as

Morphological and functional responses of a metal-tolerant sunflower mutant line to a copper-contaminated soil series

  • Aliaksandr Kolbas
  • Natallia Kolbas
  • Lilian Marchand
  • Rolf Herzig
  • Michel MenchEmail author
Research Article


The potential use of a metal-tolerant sunflower mutant line for biomonitoring Cu phytoavailability, Cu-induced soil phytotoxicity, and Cu phytoextraction was assessed on a Cu-contaminated soil series (13–1020 mg Cu kg−1) obtained by fading a sandy topsoil from a wood preservation site with a similar uncontaminated soil. Morphological and functional plant responses as well as shoot, leaf, and root ionomes were measured after a 1-month pot experiment. Hypocotyl length, shoot and root dry weight (DW) yields, and leaf area gradually decreased as soil Cu exposure rose. Their dose-response curves (DRC) plotted against indicators of Cu exposure were generally well fitted by sigmoidal curves. The half-maximal effective concentration (EC50) of morphological parameters ranged between 203 and 333 mg Cu kg−1 soil, corresponding to 290–430 μg Cu L−1 in the soil pore water, and 20 ± 5 mg Cu kg−1 DW in the shoots. The EC10 for shoot Cu concentration (13–15 mg Cu kg−1 DW) coincided to 166 mg Cu kg−1 soil. Total chlorophyll content and total antioxidant capacity (TAC) were early biomarkers (EC10: 23 and 51 mg Cu kg−1 soil). Their DRC displayed a biphasic response. Photosynthetic pigment contents, e.g., carotenoids, correlated with TAC. Ionome was changed in Cu-stressed roots, shoots, and leaves. Shoot Cu removal peaked roughly at 280 μg Cu L−1 in the soil pore water.


Antioxidant capacity Biomarker Carotenoid Helianthus annuus L. Phytotoxicity Phytoremediation 



2,2′-Azinobis (3-ethylbenzothiazoline 6-sulfonate)


Antioxidant activity


Ascorbate peroxidase




Carotenoid content


Cation exchange capacity

Chl a

Chlorophyll a content

Chl b

Chlorophyll b content


Total chlorophyll content


Shoot Cu concentration


Total Cu concentration in the soil pore water


Total soil Cu


Dehydroascorbate reductase








Dose-response curve


Shoot dry weight yield


Root dry weight yield


Effective concentration


Epicotyl length


Fresh weight


Ferric-reducing antioxidant potential


Glutathione reductase


Reduced glutathione


Oxidized glutathione


Hypocotyl length


Iron-regulated transporter


Monodehydroascorbate reductase




Organic matter


Oxygen radical absorption capacity


Reactive oxygen species


Stem length


Superoxide dismutase


Shoot dry weight yield: root dry weight yield ratio


Total antioxidant capacity


Trace element


Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity


Translocation factor


Total leaf area


Zinc- and iron-regulated transporter



This work was financially supported by ADEME, Department of Urban Brownfields and Polluted Sites, Angers, France, the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme for Research (FP7-KBBE-266124, GREENLAND), the French National Research Agency (PHYTOCHEM ANR-13-CDII-0005-01), and the ERA-Net FACCE SURPLUS (project INTENSE; This study has been carried out in the frameworks of the Cluster of Excellence Labex COTE and the INRA Ecotox. Authors give special thanks to Dr. Jean-Paul Maalouf for his technical assistance. Dr. A. Kolbas is grateful to Galina Brutcova for English editing.

Supplementary material

11356_2018_1837_MOESM1_ESM.docx (131 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 130 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aliaksandr Kolbas
    • 1
    • 2
  • Natallia Kolbas
    • 2
  • Lilian Marchand
    • 1
  • Rolf Herzig
    • 3
  • Michel Mench
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.BIOGECO, INRA, Univ. BordeauxPessac cedexFrance
  2. 2.Brest State University named after A.S. PushkinBrestBelarus
  3. 3.Phytotech FoundationBerneSwitzerland
  4. 4.INRA, UMR BIOGECO 1202, Diversity and Functioning of CommunitiesUniversity of BordeauxPessac cedexFrance

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