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Contribution of remobilization to the loading of cadmium in durum wheat grains: impact of post-anthesis nitrogen supply



This study focuses on quantifying the contribution of remobilization to the amount of cadmium accumulated in durum wheat grains. The impact of post-anthesis N supply was tested in two cultivars that differ in their shoot biomass partitioning.


Two French durum wheat cultivars were grown hydroponically and exposed to 100 nM Cd. After anthesis, the plants were fed with a solution enriched in the stable isotope 111Cd to trace the Cd newly absorbed, and subjected or not to nitrogen deprivation. Plants were sampled at anthesis and grain maturity to assess the post-anthesis fluxes of Cd and N among organs.


Cd remobilized from pre-anthesis stores contributed to more than half of the Cd accumulated in mature grains. Cd was mainly remobilized from stem and poorly remobilized from leaves. Stopping N supply during grain filling enhanced N remobilization but had no impact on post-anthesis uptake and remobilization of Cd, and thereby, on Cd concentration in grains. No difference was observed between the two cultivars in the contribution of Cd remobilization and its dependence toward post-anthesis N supply.


Cd remobilization significantly contributes to the accumulation of Cd in durum wheat grains. Cd remobilization is not tightly linked with N remobilization and behaves like a senescent-independent process in durum wheat.

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This work has been financially supported by ARVALIS-Institut du végétal through the “CADUR” project, by the French National Institute of Agronomic Research (INRA), by the French National Research Agency through the “CADON” project (ANR-15-CE21-0001) and by the CNRS-INSU EC2CO program (Ecodyn) through the “CADMIGRAIN” project. The authors thank Valérie Nicaise for internal review, Sylvie Milin (INRA) for technical help in determining the grain concentrations in N and C, PhD Juan Carlos Raposo from SGIker of UPV/EHU for technical and human support in ICP-MS and ICP-AES measurements and the China Scholarship Council (CSC) for the doctoral scholarship of Bo-Fang Yan.

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Correspondence to Bo-Fang Yan.

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Responsible Editor: Henk Schat

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Yan, BF., Nguyen, C., Pokrovsky, O.S. et al. Contribution of remobilization to the loading of cadmium in durum wheat grains: impact of post-anthesis nitrogen supply. Plant Soil 424, 591–606 (2018).

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  • Low-dose cadmium
  • Cereal
  • Post-anthesis uptake
  • Remobilization
  • Senescence
  • Stable isotope labeling