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Cadmium causes oxidative stress in mung bean by affecting the antioxidant enzyme system and ascorbate-glutathione cycle metabolism


Ascorbate (AsA)-glutathione (GSH) cycle metabolism is an essential mechanism for the resistance of plants under stress conditions. In a greenhouse pot experiment, the influence of cadmium (Cd) (25, 50, and 100 mg/kg soil) on plant dry weight and leaf area, photosynthetic parameters (net photosynthetic rate (PN) and chlorophyll (Chl) content) and oxidative stress, and the possible protective role of AsA-GSH cycle metabolism was studied in two mung bean (Vigna radiata (L.) Wilczek.) cvs. Pusa 9531 (Cd-tolerant) and PS 16 (Cd-susceptible) at 30 days after sowing. The contents of thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS), H2O2, and the leakage of ions were the highest at 100 mg Cd/kg soil, and the effect was more pronounced in cv. PS 16 than in cv. Pusa 9531. This was concomitant with the strongest decreases in PN, plant dry weight, and leaf area. The changes in the AsA-GSH redox state and an increase in AsA-GSH-regenerating enzymes, such as glutathione reductase, monodehydroascorbate reductase, dehydroascorbate reductase, and other antioxidant enzymes, such as superoxide dismutase and ascorbate peroxidase, strongly supported over-utilization of AsA-GSH in Cd-treated plants. However, the oxidative stress caused by Cd toxicity was partially overcome by AsA-GSH-based detoxification mechanism in the two genotypes studied because an increases in lipid peroxidation (TBARS, ion leakage) and H2O2 content were accompanied by a corresponding decrease in reduced AsA and GSH pools. Thus, changes in AsA-GSH pools and the coordination between AsA-GSH-regenerating enzymes and other enzymatic antioxidants of the leaves suggest their relevance to the defense against Cd stress.

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ascorbate peroxidase


ascorbate (reduced)




days after sowing




dehydroascorbate reductase


3-(dimethylamino)benzoic acid


dimethyl sulfoxide


5′,5′-dithiobis-2-nitrobenzoic acid


electrical conductivity


glutathione reductase


glutathione (reduced)


glutathione (oxidized)


leaf area


3-methyl-2-benzothiazoline hydrazone




monodehydroascorbate reductase


nitroblue tetrazolium



PN :

net photosynthetic rate


photosynthetic photon flux density


superoxide dismutase


thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances


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Correspondence to N. A. Anjum.

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Anjum, N.A., Umar, S., Iqbal, M. et al. Cadmium causes oxidative stress in mung bean by affecting the antioxidant enzyme system and ascorbate-glutathione cycle metabolism. Russ J Plant Physiol 58, 92–99 (2011).

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  • Vigna radiata
  • acorbate-glutathione cycle
  • cadmium
  • growth
  • oxidative stress