Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 2166–2174 | Cite as

Thallium and potassium uptake kinetics and competition differ between durum wheat and canola

  • Heidi Renkema
  • Amy Koopmans
  • Beverley Hale
  • Edward BerkelaarEmail author
Research Article


Thallium (Tl) is very toxic to mammals but little is known about its accumulation by plants, and it would be useful if prediction of Tl accumulation could be done using potassium (K) accumulation models. The objectives of this study were to compare the uptake kinetics of Tl+ and K+, and to determine how readily K+ can inhibit Tl+ uptake. Durum wheat (Triticum turgidum L.) and spring canola (Brassica napus L.) were grown hydroponically and exposed to 0–75 μM Tl or 0–250 μM K for up to 150 min (kinetics experiment), or to 0.1 or 10 μM Tl with Tl to K ratios of 1:1 to 1:10,000 for up to 300 min (competition experiment). The rate of uptake of Tl+ by canola was about three to five times faster than by wheat, while the rate of Tl+ uptake in wheat was the same as the rate of K+ uptake by either species. Uptake of Tl+ was more readily suppressed by K+ in wheat than in canola. When exposed to 0.1 uM Tl for 300 min with 100 or 1,000 uM K+, Tl+ uptake by wheat was reduced by 20 % and 50 %, respectively, while Tl+ uptake by canola was not reduced. Our results suggest that predicting Tl accumulation using a K accumulation model with a correction factor may be possible for canola, but would be much more difficult for wheat, since uptake of Tl+ is very sensitive to levels of K.


Accumulation Brassica napus Ion uptake Tl Trace element Translocation Triticum turgidum 



analysis of variance


cation exchange capacity


dry mass


flame atomic absorption spectroscopy


graphite furnace atomic absorption spectroscopy


high density polyethylene


all possible species of potassium


free ionic form of potassium


Michaelis–Menten constant




all possible species of thallium (I) and thallium(III)


all possible species of thallium (I)


the free-ionic form of thallium(I)


velocity or rate of uptake


the maximum velocity or rate of uptake



The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the NSERC MITHE-SN (Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada Metals in the Human Environment Strategic Network) and the NSERC Discovery Grant Program for the funding of this project.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heidi Renkema
    • 1
  • Amy Koopmans
    • 2
  • Beverley Hale
    • 1
  • Edward Berkelaar
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Environmental SciencesUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada
  2. 2.Department of Environmental ScienceRedeemer University CollegeHamiltonCanada

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