Impact of heavy metals (copper, zinc, and lead) on the chlorophyll content of some mosses.Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 2008 Apr; 54(3):412-21.AE
The effects of the heavy metals copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), and lead (Pb) on the chlorophyll content of two mosses Thuidium delicatulum (L.) Mitt. and T. sparsifolium (Mitt.) Jaeg., as well as leafy liverwort Ptychanthus striatus (Lehm. & Linderb.) were examined to understand the impact of metal accumulation on the chlorophyll content of mosses and leafy liverwort, which are found only in uncontaminated sites of the Kathmandu valley. These plants were treated with different concentrations of CuCl(2,)ZnCl(2), and Pb(NO(3))(2), ranging from 10(-10) M to 10(-2) M, in isolation and in combination under experimental conditions. Metal accumulation in the plant bodies increased with metal concentrations. Cu accumulation showed a significant inhibitory effect on chlorophyll-a, chlorophyll-b, and total chlorophyll in the mosses and the leafy liverwort. An insignificant decrease in chlorophyll content in both Thuidium species, but a significant decrease in leafy liverwort, was observed after Zn and Pb accumulation. Chlorophyll-a decreased significantly in T. sparsifolium; chlorophyll-b and total chlorophyll decreased significantly in T. delicatulum; and all chlorophyll contents decreased insignificantly in P. striatus after accumulation of Cu+Zn+Pb ions together from mixed metal solution. The ratio of chlorophyll-a to -b decreased more rapidly in both Thuidium species, with higher concentrations occurring when Cu+Zn+Pb ions were together than when Cu, Zn, or Pb ions were alone. This indicated a more destructive effect of Cu metals on the chlorophyll contents of both Thuidium species. High concentrations of Cu are known to activate oxidative damage and alter cell-membrane properties by lipid peroxidation, thereby demonstrating the inhibitory effect on the enzymes involved in chlorophyll production. The greater loss of chlorophyll from heavy-metal accumulation in P. striatus than in T. delicatulum and T. sparsifolium may have been caused by relatively more K(+) efflux in leafy liverwort than in the mosses, thus indicating their differences in membrane integrity.