Soil properties and cultivars determine heavy metal accumulation in rice grain and cultivars respond differently to Cd stress

  • Dongqin Li
  • Lili Wang
  • Yahui Wang
  • Huashou Li
  • Guikui ChenEmail author
Research Article


Field and pot experiments were conducted to evaluate the factors affecting heavy metal (HM) accumulation in rice grain and subsequently to explore their cultivar difference when exposed to Cd. Forty-seven paired soil and rice cultivar samples were collected from Jiangxi province, China. The contents of Cd, Cu, Zn, Pb, Cr, and Ni in soils and grains were determined. It showed that among these metals, Cr and Cd were the dominant contaminants in samples from the test areas, with 100.0% and 59.6% of all grain samples exceeding the maximum permissible concentration. Random forest analysis showed that soil pH, soil organic matter (SOM), Fe fraction and cultivar were four most important factors affecting HMs accumulation in grain. Based on bioconcentration factors, two cultivars with high Cd (HCd) accumulation ability and two cultivars with low Cd (LCd) accumulation ability in rice grain were chosen to explore their physiological and growth responses when exposed to 0, 50, 100 and 1000 μmol L−1 Cd. The results showed that the Cd phytotoxicity is Cd level- and cultivar-dependent. The height and weight decreased, while Cd accumulation increased in shoot and root for the four rice cultivars with the increasing of Cd content. The HCd cultivars showed less membrane damage, higher superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity and higher Cd accumulation than that of LCd cultivars. In conclusion, heavy metal accumulation in rice grain is soil property- and cultivar-dependent. And different rice cultivars respond differently to Cd stress.


Heavy metal Cadmium Bioavailability Rice Soil property Antioxidant enzymes 



This work was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2017YFD0801500) and the Science and Technology Program of Guangdong (2016A020210036, 2016A030303050, 2015A020209152). We thank Dr. Hongzhi He from South China Agricultural University for his helpful reviews and discussion.

Supplementary material

11356_2019_4727_MOESM1_ESM.docx (240 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 58 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dongqin Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lili Wang
    • 2
    • 3
  • Yahui Wang
    • 2
    • 3
  • Huashou Li
    • 2
    • 3
  • Guikui Chen
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Life Science and Technology SchoolLingnan Normal UniversityZhanjiangPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Agro-Environment in the Tropics, Ministry of AgricultureSouth China Agricultural UniversityGuangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.College of Natural Resources and EnvironmentSouth China Agricultural UniversityGuangzhouPeople’s Republic of China

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