Maize plant growth and accumulation of photosynthetic pigments at short- and long-term exposure to cadmium
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A wide range of cadmium concentrations (from 4 to 200 μM for seedlings and up to 2 mM for germinating kernels) was used to assess Cd toxic effects on maize (Zea mays L.) plants at the different developmental stages: germinating kernels, seedlings (4–9 days), and juvenile plants (34 days). Cd accumulation in plant organs was followed, and its lethal concentration was elucidated. In maize, cadmium was accumulated predominantly in roots; in shoots it was mainly accumulated in the lower leaves, and the higher was leaf position the lower was Cd content in it. At high concentrations (80 and 200 μM), kernels became the substantial cadmium depot. Germinating kernels manifested the lowest sensitivity to cadmium; seedlings were more sensitive; the inhibition of juvenile plant growth attained 90% and more. In the tested range of concentrations, cadmium suppressed shoot mass accumulation harder than that of roots. In 34-day-old plants, water content in shoots was stronger reduced than in roots. Plant death was also manifested earlier in shoots. It was concluded that maize plant sensitivity to cadmium increases with plant growing and that, under conditions of normal mineral nutrition, cadmium inhibits shoot growth more severe than root growth.
KeywordsZea mays cadmium accumulation distribution between organs stress
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