Growth and physiological response of spinach to various lithium concentrations in soil

Abstract

Lithium (Li) exploitation for industrial and domestic use is resulting in a buildup of the element in various environmental components that results in potential toxicity to living systems. Therefore, a soil culture experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of increasing concentration of Li (0, 20, 40, 60, and 80 mg kg−1 soil) on spinach growth, the effects of Li uptake, and its effects on various physiological attributes of the crop. The results showed that lower levels of Li in soil (20 mg Li kg-1) improve the growth of spinach plants, while a higher concentration of applied Li enhanced the pigment contents. Higher concentrations of Li in soil interfered with potassium and calcium uptake in plants. Moreover, increasing Li concentration resulted in higher activities of antioxidant enzymes activity in spinach shoots. From these results, it is concluded that spinach shoot accumulated higher concentrations of Li without showing any visual toxicity symptoms. Therefore, the study concludes that Li ion was mostly deposited in leaves rather than in roots which may cause potential human health risk on the consumption of Li-contaminated plants. Therefore, the cultivation of leafy vegetables in Li-affected soils should be avoided to reduce the potential human health risks.

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Correspondence to Hafiz Faiq Bakhat or Shah Fahad.

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Bakhat, H.F., Rasul, K., Farooq, A.B.U. et al. Growth and physiological response of spinach to various lithium concentrations in soil. Environ Sci Pollut Res 27, 39717–39725 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-019-06877-2

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Keywords

  • Antioxidant enzymes
  • Lithium
  • Physiological attributes
  • Spinach
  • Toxicity