Essential Roles and Hazardous Effects of Nickel in Plants

  • Muhammad Sajid Aqeel Ahmad
  • Muhammad Ashraf
Part of the Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology book series (RECT, volume 214)


Nickel is one of 23 metal pollutants of great concern to the environment and to human health (Sunderman 1992; Jarup 2003; Duda-Chodak and Baszczyk 2008). Nickel is the 24th most abundant element (twice as Cu) and comprises approximately 0.008% of the content of the earth’s crust; hence, it is a natural component of soil (parent material) and water (Alloway 1995; Hostýnek and Maibach 2002; Hedfi et al. 2007). Most of the earth’s nickel, however, is inaccessible, as it is locked in the iron–nickel molten core, which constitutes approximately 10% nickel. The second largest Ni deposits of the earth rest in the sea. It is estimated that the sea contains approximately eight billion tons of Ni, either dissolved in seawater or deposited in the seabed (Birch 1964; Stixrude et al. 1997). Soils may contain nickel levels as low as 0.2 mg kg−1 or as high as 450 mg kg−1. The average nickel content in soil is approximately 20 mg kg−1; however, the content level may vary greatly depending upon the mode of origin of the soil’s parent material (Assembly of Life Sciences 1975; Aubert and Pinta 1978; Wilson and Kordybach 2000). Because organic matter strongly absorbs some metals, particularly nickel, fossil fuels such as coal and oil may contain considerable amounts of nickel (Sigel et al. 2005). Moreover, Ni naturally occurs in a few plants (legumes) where it functions as an essential component of some enzymes (e.g., ureases) that are involved in nitrogen assimilation (Eskew et al. 1984; Brown et al. 1987a; Sakamoto and Bryant 2001).


Seed Germination Free Amino Acid Total Free Amino Acid Plant Water Relation Carbon Monoxide Dehydrogenase 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This review article has been extracted from “Review of Literature” section of the PhD thesis of Mr. Muhammad Sajid Aqeel Ahmad (99-ag-1464).


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BotanyUniversity of AgricultureFaisalabadPakistan

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