Oxidative Stress and Heavy Metals in Plants

  • Radka Fryzova
  • Miroslav Pohanka
  • Pavla Martinkova
  • Hana Cihlarova
  • Martin Brtnicky
  • Jan Hladky
  • Jindrich Kynicky
Part of the Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology book series (RECT, volume 245)


Oxidative stress is a pathological process related to not only animal kingdom but also plants. Regarding oxidative stress in plants, heavy metals are frequently discussed as causative stimuli with relevance to ecology. Because heavy metals have broad technological importance, they can easily contaminate the environment. Much of previous effort regarding the harmful impact of the heavy metals was given to their toxicology in the animals and humans. Their implication in plant pathogeneses is less known and remains underestimated.

The current paper summarizes basic facts about heavy metals, their distribution in soil, mobility, accumulation by plants, and initiation of oxidative stress including the decline in basal metabolism. The both actual and frontier studies in the field are summarized and discussed. The major pathophysiological pathways are introduced as well and link between heavy metals toxicity and their ability to initiate an oxidative damage is provided. Mobility and bioaccessibility of the metals is also considered as key factors in their impact on oxidative stress development in the plant. The metals like lead, mercury, copper, cadmium, iron, zinc, nickel, vanadium are depicted in the text.

Heavy metals appear to be significant contributors to pathological processes in the plants and oxidative stress is probably an important contributor to the effect. The most sensitive plant species are enlisted and discussed in this review. The facts presented here outline next effort to investigate pathological processes in the plants.


Contamination Heavy metals Oxidative damage Oxidative stress Pathophysiological pathways Plants 



This work was supported by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic under the CEITEC 2020 (LQ1601) and NAZV QJ1320122 projects. We thank all reviewers for their constructive reviews of this manuscript, and Prof. Pim de Voogt for editorial comments that led to improvements of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Radka Fryzova
    • 1
    • 2
  • Miroslav Pohanka
    • 1
    • 3
  • Pavla Martinkova
    • 2
    • 3
  • Hana Cihlarova
    • 1
  • Martin Brtnicky
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jan Hladky
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jindrich Kynicky
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Geology and Pedology, Faculty of Forestry and Wood TechnologyMendel University in BrnoBrnoCzech Republic
  2. 2.Central European Institute of TechnologyBrno University of TechnologyBrnoCzech Republic
  3. 3.Faculty of Military Health SciencesUniversity of DefenceHradec KraloveCzech Republic

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