Zinc and copper uptake by plants under two transpiration rates. Part I. Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.).Environ Pollut. 2005 Dec; 138(3):538-47.EP
To evaluate the environmental risk of irrigating crops with treated wastewater, an experiment was conducted using two growth chambers, each offering a different vapour pressure deficit (VPD) for high and low transpiration rates (TR), respectively. One of the two sets of 24 pots planted with 6 week old wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), was placed in each growth chamber, and irrigated in triplicates for 20 days with 8 Zn and Cu solutions (0 and 25 mg Zn/L combined with 0, 5, 15 and 30 mg Cu/L). Water losses from planted and non-planted pots served to measure evapo-transpiration and evaporation, respectively. Pots were monitored for Cu and Zn uptake by collecting three plants (shoot and grain)/pots after 0, 10 and 20 days, and roots in each pot after 20 days, and analyzing these plant parts for dry mass, and Cu and Zn levels. Transpiration rate was not affected by any Cu/Zn treatment, but Cu and Zn uptake increase with the time, irrigation solution level and higher TR, with the roots retaining most Cu and Zn, compared to the shoot followed by the grain. For the shoot and grain, Cu had a significant synergetic effect on Zn uptake, when Zn had slight but insignificant antagonistic effects on Cu uptake. For the roots, Cu and Zn had significant synergetic effect on each other. Regression equations obtained from the data indicate that Cu and Zn levels normally found in treated wastewater (0.08 mg/L) are 300 times lower than those used for the most concentrated experimental solutions (30 and 25 mg/L, respectively) and may, on a long term basis, be beneficial rather than toxic to wheat plants and do not acidify soil pH.