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Potassium affects the phytoextraction potential of Tanzania guinea grass under cadmium stress

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The supply of potassium (K) is a strategy to increase the tolerance of plants exposed to Cd toxicity. The aim of this study was to verify the influence of K on the growth and potential of Tanzania guinea grass (Panicum maximum Jacq. cv. Tanzania (syn. Megathyrsus maximus (Jacq.) B.K. Simon & S.W.L. Jacobs)) for Cd phytoextraction as well as to evaluate nutritional attributes of this grass under conditions of Cd stress. The experiment was conducted in a randomized complete block design, using a 3 × 4 factorial arrangement, with three replications. Three rates of K (0.4, 6.0, and 11.6 mmol L−1) were combined with four rates of Cd (0.0, 0.5, 1.0, and 1.5 mmol L−1) in nutrient solution. Two plant growth periods were evaluated. The increase in K supply to plants exposed to Cd rates of up to 1.0 mmol L−1 caused increase in morphogenic and production attributes, as well as reduction in tiller mortality rate, in the second growth period. K concentrations (in both harvests) increased, while calcium and magnesium concentrations in the second harvest decreased with increasing Cd rates. The high availability of Cd (1.5 mmol L−1) in the nutrient solution caused decrease in relative chlorophyll index (RCI) in both harvests. The high supply of K to plants exposed to Cd resulted in high shoot dry mass production, reducing Cd concentration in the photosynthetic tissues (which means great tolerance of the plant) and increasing the accumulation of this metal in the shoots that can be harvested. Therefore, K increases the Cd phytoextraction capacity of Tanzania guinea grass.

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Thanks are due to the participants of the Plant Mineral Nutrition Research Group at ESALQ-USP for the help in all phases of the research project.


This study was financed by the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP)—Grant 2015-20624-4 and by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES)—Finance Code 001. Doctoral fellowship was granted to the first author (Grant 142316/2015-6) and research fellowship to the second author (Grant 307030/2017-2) by the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq).

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Correspondence to Francisco Antonio Monteiro.

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de Anicésio, É.C.A., Monteiro, F.A. Potassium affects the phytoextraction potential of Tanzania guinea grass under cadmium stress. Environ Sci Pollut Res 26, 30472–30484 (2019).

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  • Biomass
  • Forage
  • Nutrients
  • Nutritional balance
  • Panicum maximum
  • Phytoremediation