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«Abstract This paper examines the influence of Pb+2, Cd+2 and As+3 on growth of roots in legumes (broad bean, soybean, pea) and cereals (barley, ...»

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Cadmium was applied at two concentrations: 100 and 300 mg*L-1. In general, Cd had a harmful influence on root system of tested plants (Table 1-3). The most Cdaffected crop was barley (IP 80.26 % and IP 96.91 % at lower and higher dose of cadmium). High sensitivity to higher doses of cadmium showed also roots of maize (IP 80.2 %). On the contrary, the highest tolerance to test doses of cadmium was shown in roots of faba bean cv. Piesťanský (IP 37.18 % and IP 58.5 % respectively).

Relatively high tolerance was observed also at roots of pea at lower concentration of cadmium (IP 44.16 %) (Table 3). Out of tested legumes, soybean showed the lowest tolerance (IP 65.00 % and 65.70 % respectively) (Table 3). Peralta et al. (2001) reported a reduction of shoot length of Medicago sativa at the applied dose of 5 mg and 20 mg*L-1 Cd2+, while the dose of 40 mg*L-1 was lethal. Our results are somewhat different from those by Kuboi et al. (1986), who reported that dicotyledons are more sensitive to Cd than barley and other cereals, which are considered to be semi-resistant. Results of different investigations (including toxicity/tolerance monitoring) are, however, difficult to compare as the nature of heavy metal effect Piršelová et al.: Sensitivity Of Selected Crops To Lead, Cadmium And Arsenic In Early Stage...

varies not only between the species, but also between genotypes of the same species (Ahmad et al., 2012; Metwally et al., 2005), age of the plants, the concentration and duration of the effect, physical and chemical properties of contaminants (Vassilev and Yordanov,1997) as well as physical and chemical properties of soil (McCully, 1999).

Genotypic differences in tolerance to metal ions were confirmed also through our experiments. Application of Cd+2 and As+3 at concentration of 100 mg*L-1 resulted in different length of roots in both tested cultivars of broad bean. Cultivar Pieštanský had longer roots compared to cultivar Aštar (Table 2).

Although arsenic was applied at the lowest concentration (50 and 100 mg*L-1) compared to other metals (Pb+2 300 and 500 mg*L-1; Cd+2 100 and 300 mg*L-1), this metal had the most toxic effect on development of root system. Lower concentrations of As were used due to predicted toxicity of this element (Piršelová et al., 2009).

From tested set of plants, the most negatively influenced crop was barley, because its root system was significantly underdeveloped and growth was severely inhibited on second day after application of heavy metal (Table 1). This fact was significantly evident on the fourth day when the root´s length in non-contaminated barley sample was 86.68 mm, whereas root´s length of As-contaminated seedling (at concentration of 100 mg*L-1) was only 6.06 mm (IP 93.01 %). Very similar result was detected in soybean (IP 92.33 %). Out of the set of tested plants, the crop third most sensitive to arsenic was maize (IP 74.09 and 79.15) (Table 1). According to Evans et al. (2005), arsenic in low doses (100 μg*L-1) can be even beneficial to growth and development of maize. Physiological and biochemical causes for this phenomenon have not been completely clarified yet. Two possibilities exist for growth stimulation by As: first, stimulation of plant systems by small amount of As, second, displacement of phosphate ions from the soil by arsenate ions, with the resultant increase of phosphate availability (Jacobs and Keeney, 1970). A higher tolerance to arsenic was observed in roots of pea and both varieties of bean (IP up to 70.0 %). Despite this fact, the high values of IP point to high sensitivity of these crops to arsenic, which is consistent with results of testing the effect of arsenic on growth of other legumes (Carbonell-Barrachina et al., 1997; Stoeva et al., 2005).

In general, a greater reduction in growth of roots was observed when higher doses of heavy metals was applied. It is in accordance with findings of other authors (Moosavi et al., 2012; Munzuroglu and Zengin, 2006).

It is necessary to mention that concentrations of tested heavy metals are relatively high compared to the average values found in soils. The application of higher concentrations on plant roots in laboratory conditions allow for a fast recognition of the differences in plant sensitivity to particular contaminant. Therefore, this is a very important factor in research of plant tolerance mechanisms.

Piršelová et al.: Sensitivity Of Selected Crops To Lead, Cadmium And Arsenic In Early Stages Of Ontogenesis Table 1: Effect of lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd) and arsenic (As) on roots’ length (in mm) in cereals (maize and barley) Tabuľka 1: Vplyv olova (Pb), kadmia (Cd) a arzénu (As) na dľžku koreňov (v mm) obilnín (kukurica a jačmeň)

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Data indicate ± standard deviation of mean values (n=45-60). Significant difference (p 0.05) is denoted as asterisk (*) between control and heavy metal treatments. IP – index phytotoxicity.

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Data indicate ± standard deviation of mean values (n=45-60). Significant difference (p 0.05) is denoted as asterisk (*) between control and heavy metal treatments. IP – index phytotoxicity.

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Piršelová et al.: Sensitivity Of Selected Crops To Lead, Cadmium And Arsenic In Early Stage...

Conclusion In general, a toxic effect of the used heavy metals on root system was demonstrated in this work. Impact of the heavy metals on the plants’ root system depended on the particular heavy metal, their concentration, plant species and overall period of exposure to the heavy metal. Lower effect of lead (IP up to 56.77 %) was observed in all variants of the experiment. IP increased over 50 % due to higher doses of cadmium and arsenic. While, in case of barley and maize, the toxic effect of almost all test doses of the metals was observed as soon as 24 hours after their applications, lower doses of applied metal solutions caused no changes or slow stimulation of root growth of tested bean cultivars. During the entire experiment, both varieties of bean showed, in general, higher tolerance to test metals (IP up to 69.53 %). The most sensitive reactions to the single doses of metals had roots of barley and soybean (IP 50 %, excluding dose Pb 300). Out of the used set of heavy metals, the most toxic effect on the roots´ growth and their overall development had arsenic (As+3). This element totally inhibited the roots´ elongation as well (IP 80 % in case of barley and soybean).

Application of heavy metals at different concentrations and higher number of examined plants brings new knowledge about toxic effects of metals on plants.

Moreover, this method can also be one of the ways how to discover plant´s resistance mechanisms.

Acknowledgements The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Community under project no 26220220180: Building Research Centre "AgroBioTech".

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