Toxic Effects of Heavy Metals on Germination and Physiological Processes of Plants

  • Parvaze Ahmad Wani
  • Mohammad Saghir Khan
  • Almas Zaidi
Chapter

Abstract

Pollution of the environment by toxic metals in recent years has accelerated dramatically due to rapid industrial progress. Heavy metals when taken up in amounts in excess of the normal concentration produce lethal effects on plants, on microbes, and directly or indirectly on the human health. Deleterious impact of metals on plants includes the reduction in germinability of seeds, inactivation of enzymes, damage to cells by acting as antimetabolites, or formation of precipitates or chelates with essential metabolites. Heavy metals also show unconstructive effects on other physiological processes like photosynthesis, gaseous exchange, water relations, and mineral/nutrient absorption by plants. These adverse effects may be due to the generation of reactive oxygen species which may cause oxidative stress. The impact of heavy metals on germination of legume seeds and different physiological events of plants with special reference to leguminous plants grown in distinct agroecological niches is highlighted.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Parvaze Ahmad Wani
    • 1
  • Mohammad Saghir Khan
    • 2
  • Almas Zaidi
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Biological Sciences, College of Natural and Applied SciencesCrescent UniversityAbeokutaNigeria
  2. 2.Department of Agricultural Microbiology, Faculty of Agricultural SciencesAligarh Muslim UniversityAligarhIndia
  3. 3.Department of Agricultural Microbiology, Faculty of Agricultural SciencesAligarh Muslim UniversityAligarhIndia

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