Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 16, pp 15357–15367 | Cite as

Absorption and subcellular distribution of cadmium in tea plant (Camellia sinensis cv. “Shuchazao”)

  • De-ju Cao
  • Xun Yang
  • Geng Geng
  • Xiao-chun Wan
  • Ru-xiao Ma
  • Qian Zhang
  • Yue-gan Liang
Research Article


A hydroponic experiment was performed to investigate the Cd absorption and subcellular distribution in tea plant, Camellia sinensis. Increased Cd accumulation potential was observed in the tea plant in a Cd-enriched environment, but most of the Cd was absorbed by the roots of C. sinensis. The Cd in all the root fractions was mostly distributed in the soluble fraction, followed by the cell wall fraction. By contrast, the Cd was least distributed in the organelle fraction. The adsorption of Cd onto the C. sinensis roots was described well by the Langmuir isotherm model than the Freundlich isotherm. Most of the Cd (38.6 to 59.4%) was integrated with pectates and proteins in the roots and leaves. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) analysis showed that small molecular organic substances, such as amino acids, organic acids, and carbohydrates with N–H, C=O, C–N, and O–H functional groups in the roots, bonded with Cd(II). The Cd accumulation in the C. sinensis leaves occurred in the cell wall and organelle fractions. C. sinensis has great capability to transport Cd, thereby indicating pollution risk. The metal homeostasis of Fe, Mn, Ca, and Mg in C. sinensis was affected when the Cd concentration was 1.0–15.0 mg/L.


Cadmium Camellia sinensis Chemical form Subcellular distribution FTIR 


Funding information

This research is supported by the Opening Project of State Key Laboratory of Tea Plant Biology and Utilization (SKLTOF20150104).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • De-ju Cao
    • 1
  • Xun Yang
    • 1
  • Geng Geng
    • 1
  • Xiao-chun Wan
    • 2
  • Ru-xiao Ma
    • 1
  • Qian Zhang
    • 1
  • Yue-gan Liang
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Resource and EnvironmentAnhui Agricultural UniversityHefeiPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Tea Plant Biology and UtilizationAnhui Agricultural UniversityHefeiChina

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