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Heavy Metal-Induced Oxidative Stress in Plants: Response of the Antioxidative System

  • Ivna ŠtolfaEmail author
  • Tanja Žuna Pfeiffer
  • Dubravka Špoljarić
  • Tihana Teklić
  • Zdenko Lončarić
Chapter

Abstract

Heavy metals (HMs) are among the most important environmental pollutants, particularly in areas with strong anthropogenic pressure. For plants, high levels of HMs are extremely toxic since they may act in several different modes: by the direct inhibition of plant growth and biosynthetic pathways or through the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Certain metals generate ROS due to their involvement in redox reactions like Fenton and/or Haber–Weiss reactions, while metals without redox capacity enhance ROS production by reducing the antioxidant glutathione pool, activating calcium-dependent systems and influencing iron-mediated processes. ROS production affects lipids, proteins, and DNA and consequently leads to cell death. In response, plants are equipped with complex enzymatic and nonenzymatic mechanisms involved in antioxidative defense to neutralize HM toxicity, and the main components of these mechanisms will be reviewed in this chapter.

Keywords

Heavy metals ROS Antioxidants 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ivna Štolfa
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tanja Žuna Pfeiffer
    • 1
  • Dubravka Špoljarić
    • 1
  • Tihana Teklić
    • 2
  • Zdenko Lončarić
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiologyJosip Juraj Strossmayer University of OsijekOsijekCroatia
  2. 2.Faculty of Agriculture in OsijekJosip Juraj Strossmayer University of OsijekOsijekCroatia

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