Root uptake and shoot accumulation of cadmium by lettuce at various Cd:Zn ratios in nutrient solution.Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2018 Feb; 148:441-446.EE
Cadmium (Cd) is toxic to animals and humans after it accumulates over decades in the kidney cortex. Food crops grown in Cd-contaminated soils are the primary sources of excessive Cd entry into humans. Although plant available Zn concentration in soil is an important factor which can greatly reduce Cd uptake by plant roots and its translocation into the edible parts, Cd:Zn ratio is suggested to be a more important factor in comparison with Zn concentration alone in determining Cd uptake by plants. In the present study, the physiological mechanisms of Cd absorption by roots and its translocation to leaves of lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) at various Cd:Zn ratios in the rooting media were investigated. For this purpose, seedlings of hydroponically-grown lettuce were exposed to combinations of four Zn (0, 12.5, 50 and 100μM) and four Cd (0, 0.5, 1 and 10μM) concentrations providing different ratios of Cd:Zn. At each level of Cd, decreasing the Cd:Zn ratio by increasing Zn concentration in the nutrient solution caused significant reduction of root symplastic Cd and also reduced Cd loading into the xylem and Cd transport to and accumulation in leaves. The highest root symplastic Cd (1087mg/kg-1 Dry Weight [DW]) and shoot Cd concentrations (64mg/kg-1 DW) were observed at the highest Cd:Zn ratio of = 0.8 (Zn = 12.5, Cd = 10). At the Cd:Zn ratios of ≤ 0.01, shoot Cd concentration was less than the Detection Limit (< 0.02mg/kg DW). Decreasing Cd:Zn ratio in nutrient solution was accompanied with significant increase in root apoplastic Cd and decrease in the root symplastic Cd. According to the obtained results, at the Cd:Zn ratio equal to 0.01 and less, Cd concentration in lettuce shoots decreased to < 0.02mg/kg.