Plant and Soil

, Volume 292, Issue 1–2, pp 105–117 | Cite as

Effect of exogenous amino acids on Cu uptake and translocation in maize seedlings

  • Zhigao ZhouEmail author
  • Jianmin Zhou
  • Renying Li
  • Huoyan Wang
  • Jinfang Wang
Original paper


This study aimed to assess the effects of four contrasting proteinogenic amino acids on copper (Cu) uptake and translocation in maize (Zea mays L.) seedlings grown in a modified Hoagland solution. Glycine, aspartic acid and lysine at three concentrations (10, 25 and 100 μM) did not have any significant effect on Cu uptake and translocation in maize seedlings over a two-day experimental period. However, cysteine (a reductive amino acid) at the three concentrations increased very significantly (P < 0.01) Cu accumulations in the root symplast and the shoots of maize seedlings in comparison to the control. Cu uptake in the whole plant and Cu translocation from root to shoot were also increased in the cysteine treatments. In the 25 μM cysteine treatment, where cysteine was in moderate excess, the Cu uptake in the whole plant and Cu translocation from root to shoot were significantly (P < 0.01) higher than those of the 10 or 100 μM cysteine treatments, where the concentration of cysteine was equivalent to that of Cu(II) or in great excess according to the stoichiometry of the redox reaction of cysteine with Cu(II). It is hypothesized that the cysteine-induced oxidation state alteration from Cu(II) to Cu(I) could be responsible for the increased Cu uptake and Cu translocation, on the ground that Cu(I), as free cuprous ion or cysteine cuprous complex, may be more available to maize roots than Cu(II).


Amino acids Cu translocation Cu uptake Maize Oxidation state 



This work was made possible through grants from National Key Basic Research Foundation, China (2002CB410810 and 2002CB412300). Thanks are due to Dr. Changwen Du for his help in Cu determination by ICP-AES and to Dr. Juan Li, Dr. Quanxian Hua, Dr. Haiying Li, Wei Cheng, Chenglin Ma for their kind help in laborious hydroponic experiments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhigao Zhou
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jianmin Zhou
    • 1
  • Renying Li
    • 2
  • Huoyan Wang
    • 1
  • Jinfang Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.Nanjing Institute of Soil SciencesChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingChina
  2. 2.Nanjing University of Informational Science & TechnologyNanjingChina

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