Role of ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid on lead uptake and translocation by tumbleweed (Salsola Kali L.)
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Tumbleweed plants (Salsola kali L.) grown in agar and liquid media demonstrated a high capacity to accumulate Pb in their different parts without affecting biomass. Whereas shoot elongation and biomass were not significantly affected by high tissue concentrations of Pb, root growth was significantly affected relative to controls. Roots, stems, and leaves demonstrated Pb concentrations of 31,000, 5,500, and 2,100 mg/kg dry weight, respectively, when plants were grown in the agar medium containing 80 mg Pb/L. Application of ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) to Pb-contaminated media dramatically reduced the total acquisition of Pb from both types of media. However, EDTA significantly increased the translocation of Pb from roots to the aerial parts, as evidenced by a multifold increase (23- and 155-fold for agar and liquid media, respectively) in the translocation concentration factor. The concentration of the antioxidant thiol compounds significantly increased (p < 0.05) in plants grown with uncomplexed Pb treatments relative to control plants. Scanning-electron microscopy and electron dispersive x-ray spectroscopic evaluation of leaf samples demonstrated an interesting pattern of Pb translocation in the presence or absence of EDTA. Large Pb crystals were found across the leaf tissues (palisade, spongy parenchyma, and conducting tissues) in the absence of EDTA. Lead nanoparticles also were seen when plants were grown in Pb-EDTA solution. Ultramicroscopic features of tumbleweed provide clear evidence for the unrestricted conduction of Pb from the root to the aerial parts, and this property makes the plant a good candidate for phytoremediation. © 2007 SETAC.