Fulvic acid mediates chromium (Cr) tolerance in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) through lowering of Cr uptake and improved antioxidant defense system

Abstract

Chromium (Cr) stress is one of the most adverse environmental factors that affect plant growth and food chain contamination. Fulvic acid (FA) is known to enhance the growth and production of crops, but the studies are scare regarding the application of FA on metal tolerance in plants. The effects of FA application on alleviating Cr phytotoxicity in wheat plants were investigated in a pot experiment conducted in sand- and soil-grown plants. Three Cr (0, 0.25, and 0.50 mM) treatments in the form of K2Cr2O7 were applied in both soils with or without foliar application of 1.5 mg L−1 FA. Plants were harvested after 4 months of treatments, and data regarding growth characteristics, biomass, photosynthetic pigments, and antioxidant enzymes were recorded. FA application increased plant biomass, photosynthetic pigments, and antioxidant enzymes while it decreased Cr uptake and accumulation in plants as compared with Cr treatments alone. We conclude that FA application contributes to decreased Cr concentrations in wheat grains and could be used as an amendment when aiming for decreased metal concentration in plants.

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Acknowledgment

This study is part of the M.Sc Environmental Sciences Thesis of Sidra Kanwal. We are highly thankful to the Higher Education Commission (HEC), Pakistan, and Government College University, Faisalabad, Pakistan, for their financial support.

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Correspondence to Muhammad Rizwan.

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Ali, S., Bharwana, S.A., Rizwan, M. et al. Fulvic acid mediates chromium (Cr) tolerance in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) through lowering of Cr uptake and improved antioxidant defense system. Environ Sci Pollut Res 22, 10601–10609 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-015-4271-7

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Keywords

  • Antioxidant enzymes
  • Biomass
  • Chromium
  • Growth
  • Photosynthetic
  • Phytotoxicity