Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 905–912 | Cite as

Response of secondary metabolites to Cu in the Cu-hyperaccumulator lichen Stereocaulon japonicum

  • Hiromitsu NakajimaEmail author
  • Naoki Fujimoto
  • Yoshikazu Yamamoto
  • Takashi Amemiya
  • Kiminori Itoh
Research Article


Lichen secondary metabolites are known to be associated with heavy metal uptake and tolerance in lichens. Understanding the relationship between their secondary metabolites and heavy metals in them is important for clarifying the mechanisms of their heavy metal accumulation and tolerance. To determine the relationships between the concentrations of secondary metabolites and Cu in the Cu-hyperaccumulator lichen Stereocaulon japonicum and to clarify its response to Cu, we collected Cu-contaminated and uncontaminated samples of the lichen and determined relative concentrations of secondary metabolites and concentrations of Cu, K, glucose, and sugar alcohols in them. We found significant negative correlations between the relative concentrations of secondary metabolites—atranorin and stictic acid—and the concentration of Cu. These negative correlations can be interpreted in one of two ways: (a) S. japonicum itself reduced the relative concentrations of secondary metabolites in response to the increase of Cu concentration or (b) its carbon and energy metabolism was damaged by Cu stress, resulting in the reduction of the relative concentrations of secondary metabolites. The analysis of K, glucose, and sugar alcohols showed no effect of Cu on these concentrations, which means that the carbon and energy metabolism was not damaged by Cu stress. Therefore, the negative correlations can be interpreted that S. japonicum itself reduced the relative concentrations of secondary metabolites with the increase of Cu concentration. These findings provide a deeper understanding of the response of secondary metabolites to Cu in the lichen.


Stereocaulon japonicum Copper hyperaccumulator Lichen secondary metabolite Atranorin Stictic acid Glucose Sugar alcohol Carbon and energy metabolism 


Funding information

This study was partly supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 26340045.


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hiromitsu Nakajima
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Naoki Fujimoto
    • 1
  • Yoshikazu Yamamoto
    • 3
    • 4
  • Takashi Amemiya
    • 1
  • Kiminori Itoh
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate School of Environment and Information SciencesYokohama National UniversityYokohamaJapan
  2. 2.Division of General Education, Faculty of Informatics and EngineeringThe University of Electro-CommunicationsTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Graduate School of Bioresource SciencesAkita Prefectural UniversityAkitaJapan
  4. 4.Osaka Museum of Natural HistoryOsakaJapan

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