Microwave irradiation and citric acid assisted seed germination and phytoextraction of nickel (Ni) by Brassica napus L.: morpho-physiological and biochemical alterations under Ni stress

Abstract

The complex bio-geochemistry of soil allows pollutant to persist for a longer period of time which further decreased the fertility and natural composition of land. Nickel, an inorganic pollutant, coming from a wide range of industrial and manufacturing units possesses serious threat to soil degradation and crop productivity around the world. The present study was carried to evaluate the combined role of microwave irradiation (MR) and citric acid (CA) on the phytoextraction potential of Brassica napus L. under Ni stress. An initial seed germination test was conducted to select effective time scale of MR exposure. Highest seed germination was observed at exposure of 2.45 GHz frequency for 30 s. Healthy seeds of B. napus L. genotype Faisal Canola (RBN-03060) treated with MR at 2.45 GHz for 30 s were sown in plastic pots filled with 5 kg of soil. Nickel and CA applied exogenously in solution form with different combinations to both MR-treated and untreated B. napus plants. The MR-treated plants showed higher growth, biomass, photosynthetic pigments (Chl a, b, total, and carotenoids) and activities of antioxidant enzymes (SOD, POD, APX, CAT) as compared to untreated plants who showed higher reactive oxygen species (MDA, H2O2) and electrolyte leakage. Increasing Ni concentration significantly decreased the physiological and biochemical attributes of B. napus both in MR-treated and untreated plants. The addition of CA alleviated Ni-induced toxic effects in both MR-treated and untreated plants by improving antioxidant defense system. The degree of Ni stress mitigation was higher in MR-treated plants. The Ni concentration was higher in root, stem, and leaves of MR-treated plants under CA application as compared to untreated plants. The present study concluded that seeds treated with MR before sowing showed higher accumulation and concentration of Ni from soil, and this phenomenon boosted with the application of CA.

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Acknowledgments

The authors are highly thankful to the Government College University, Faisalabad, Pakistan; University of Gujrat, Gujrat, Pakistan; and Higher Education Commission of Pakistan for financial and technical support in this study.

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Correspondence to Mujahid Farid.

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Responsible editor: Elena Maestri

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Farid, M., Ali, S., Rizwan, M. et al. Microwave irradiation and citric acid assisted seed germination and phytoextraction of nickel (Ni) by Brassica napus L.: morpho-physiological and biochemical alterations under Ni stress. Environ Sci Pollut Res 24, 21050–21064 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-017-9751-5

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Keywords

  • Accumulation
  • Brassica napus
  • Citric acid
  • Microwave radiation
  • Nickel
  • Phytoextraction
  • Electrolyte leakage