Screening maize (Zea mays L.) varieties with low accumulation of cadmium, arsenic, and lead in edible parts but high accumulation in other parts: a field plot experiment

Abstract

To find maize varieties with both safe production and soil remediation, 11 maize varieties were planted in field soil which was combinedly polluted by cadmium (Cd), arsenic (As), and lead (Pb). The plant growth, accumulation, phytochemical forms, and translocation of Cd, As, and Pb in different tissues were examined. Furthermore, maize varieties with low metal accumulation in their edible parts but high accumulation in other parts were selected as remediation candidates and pollution-safe varieties. The results showed that the growth of varieties Yayu69, Longhuang2502, and Shennongyu10 were the least affected by heavy metals. The concentrations of Cd, As, and Pb in all of the tested maize grains met the national feed hygiene standards, and the grain concentrations of the three metals in Yayu69, Shengnongyu10, and Yunrui62 all met the national food safety standards. According to the extraction efficiency of Cd, As, and Pb and heavy metal concentrations in grains, four types of maize were classified as follows: (1) the first category was suitable for both soil remediation and safe production, including the varieties Yayu69 (Cd, Pb), Jinyi418 (As, Cd), and Shengnongyu10 (Pb); (2) the second category had a high concentration of metals in edible part but did not exceed the limiting value in national feed hygiene standards, and the metal extraction efficiency was also high, including Beiyu1521 (Cd) and Longhuang2502 (Cd, As, Pb); (3) the third category included heavy metal exclusion varieties with low metals accumulation, such as Yayu749 (Cd), Yunrui62 (As, Pb), and Yunrui8 (As); and (4) the fourth type covered risk maize varieties with food safety risks and unsuitable cultivation at sites polluted with toxic metals, including Chuangui1586 (Pb) and Enyu69 (As). The variety Yayu69 (a Cd/Pb low accumulator in grain) contained a low percentage of inorganic (FE) and water-soluble (FW) Cd (4%) and Pb (6%) in roots, respectively, but the percentage of FE and FW Cd and Pb in the variety Beiyu1521 (a Cd/Pb high accumulator in grain) was up to 29% and 13%. Our results provided a new perspective in applying maize varieties with different metal-accumulating ability in their different parts to achieve the remediation of metal-polluted soil and the sustainable development of agricultural production.

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Acknowledgements

We sincerely thank the two anonymous reviewers for their suggestive comments on our manuscript.

Availability of data and materials

The datasets used and analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request. All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in this published article.

Funding

This work was funded by the national key research and development program of China (2018YFD0800603-04).

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NK Yang completed the experiment, original data processing, and draft writing. HB Wang conceived and designed the experiments and revised manuscript. HJ Wang conceived and designed the experiments. ZZ Wang and JK Ran provided help with field sampling. SY Guo and Y Peng conducted data acquisition and analysis. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Hongbin Wang.

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Yang, N., Wang, H., Wang, H. et al. Screening maize (Zea mays L.) varieties with low accumulation of cadmium, arsenic, and lead in edible parts but high accumulation in other parts: a field plot experiment. Environ Sci Pollut Res (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-021-12958-y

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Keywords

  • Heavy metal
  • Arsenic
  • Maize (Zea mays L.)
  • Accumulation
  • Varieties
  • Soil remediation
  • Food safety