Nickel localization in tissues of different hyperaccumulator species of Euphorbiaceae from ultramafic areas of Cuba
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Pantropical species of the genera Phyllanthus and Euphorbia and the Cuban endemic genus Leucocroton from the Euphorbiaceae family, were selected for nickel localization microanalysis. Scanning Electron Microscopy coupled with Energy Dispersive X-ray Microanalysis (SEM-EDX) was used for qualitative detection of nickel in the selected Ni-hyperaccumulator species: Euphorbia helenae, Leucocroton linearifolius, L. flavicans Phyllanthus orbicularis, P. discolor and P. xpallidus, all collected from Cuban ultramafic soils. The leaves and stems from the Euphorbiaceae species analyzed were the organs with higher nickel accumulation. Elemental mapping of leaves and stem tissues from these species have been compared. The highest Ni concentrations were found in the laticifer tubes of stems and the epidermis tissues of leaves in all the analyzed species, suggesting a general pattern of the Euphorbiaceae family for nickel accumulation. The high nickel concentrations and its rather homogeneous distribution found in leaves of these Ni-hyperaccumulating plants suggest a possible role in protection mechanisms against environmental stress, such as UV irradiation.
KeywordsElemental mapping Euphorbiaceae Nickel Nickel hyperaccumulators SEM-EDX
This work was supported by grants BOS2002–02148 and CGL2006–02534 and institutional grant from the Fundación Areces to the Centro de Biología Molecular. L. R. is a fellow from the Comunidad Autónoma de Madrid. We thank both the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and the Universidad Complutense for their financial support (International Programs) that enabled VF and DSM to attend all the events of the IVth International Conference on Serpentine Ecology held in Havana (Cuba) in April, 2003, which was the seed of this study.
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