Heavy Metal Damage and Tolerance in Plants

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Response to Abiotic Stress and Climate Change".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2023) | Viewed by 13430

Special Issue Editors

Yunnan Key Laboratory for Wild Plant Resources, Department of Economic Plants and Biotechnology, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650201, China
Interests: abiotic stress; soil pollution; heavy metal; genetic engineering; proteomics; detoxification; phytoremediation; biofortification

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Guest Editor
State Key Laboratory of Tree Genetics and Breeding, Key Laboratory of Tree Breeding of Zhejiang Province, Research Institute of Subtropical Forestry, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Hangzhou 311400, China
Interests: heavy metal; abiotic stress; soil pollution; tree abiotic molecular and physiology; bamboo molecular breeding

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Heavy metals are global environmental pollutants. Most plants have a small tolerance range to heavy metals, and exposure to excessive heavy metals may damage various aspects of plants. However, some plants have evolved super tolerance to heavy metals. The understanding of the multilevel mechanisms underlying plant responses to heavy metal stresses is important for improving plant vitality and quality in heavy-metal-contaminated areas, as well as for the phytoremediation of contaminated environments.

As Guest Editors of the “Heavy Metal Damage and Tolerance in Plants” Special Issue of Plants, we would like to invite you to contribute a paper covering the mechanisms of plant responses to heavy metals at the ecological, morphological, physiological, biochemical, molecular, or genetic levels. In particular, studies uncovering original mechanisms of plant responses to heavy metals on the basis of frontier biotechnology or novel perspectives would be highly appreciated.

Dr. Xiong Li
Dr. Renying Zhuo
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • phytotoxicology
  • oxidative stress
  • detoxification
  • ion transport
  • omics
  • hyperaccumulator
  • phytoremediation

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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19 pages, 1064 KiB  
Article
Alleviation of Cadmium Toxicity in Thai Rice Cultivar (PSL2) Using Biofertilizer Containing Indigenous Cadmium-Resistant Microbial Consortia
by Ladda Seang-On, Weeradej Meeinkuirt and Preeyaporn Koedrith
Plants 2023, 12(20), 3651; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12203651 - 23 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1089
Abstract
Biofertilizer as an amendment has growing awareness. Little attention has been paid to bioremediation potential of indigenous heavy-metal-resistant microbes, especially when isolated from long-term polluted soil, as a bioinoculant in biofertilizers. Biofertilizers are a type of versatile nutrient provider and soil conditioner that [...] Read more.
Biofertilizer as an amendment has growing awareness. Little attention has been paid to bioremediation potential of indigenous heavy-metal-resistant microbes, especially when isolated from long-term polluted soil, as a bioinoculant in biofertilizers. Biofertilizers are a type of versatile nutrient provider and soil conditioner that is cost-competitive and highly efficient with nondisruptive detoxifying capability. Herein, we investigated the effect of biofertilizers containing indigenous cadmium (Cd)-resistant microbial consortia on rice growth and physiological response. The Thai rice cultivar PSL2 (Oryza sativa L.) was grown in Cd-enriched soils amended with 3% biofertilizer. The composition of the biofertilizers’ bacterial community at different taxonomic levels was explored using 16S rRNA gene Illumina MiSeq sequencing. Upon Cd stress, the test biofertilizer had maximum mitigating effects as shown by modulating photosynthetic pigment, MDA and proline content and enzymatic antioxidants, thereby allowing increased shoot and root biomass (46% and 53%, respectively) and reduced grain Cd content, as compared to the control. These phenomena might be attributed to increased soil pH and organic matter, as well as enriched beneficial detoxifiers, i.e., Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes and Proteobacteria, in the biofertilizers. The test biofertilizer was effective in alleviating Cd stress by improving soil biophysicochemical traits to limit Cd bioavailability, along with adjusting physiological traits such as antioxidative defense. This study first demonstrated that incorporating biofertilizer derived from indigenous Cd-resistant microbes could restrict Cd contents and consequently enhance plant growth and tolerance in polluted soil. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metal Damage and Tolerance in Plants)
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20 pages, 4403 KiB  
Article
Physiological and Cellular Ultrastructural Responses of Sesuvium portulacastrum under Cd Stress Grown Hydroponically
by Mohammad Mazbah Uddin, Zhenfang Chen, Fuliu Xu and Lingfeng Huang
Plants 2023, 12(19), 3381; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12193381 - 25 Sep 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1038
Abstract
This study aimed to investigate the physiological and cellular mechanisms of Sesuvium portulacastrum under heavy metal stress to evaluate possible tolerance and adaptation mechanisms in a metal-polluted environment. The physiological and cellular ultrastructural responses of S. portulacastrum were studied hydroponically under exposure to [...] Read more.
This study aimed to investigate the physiological and cellular mechanisms of Sesuvium portulacastrum under heavy metal stress to evaluate possible tolerance and adaptation mechanisms in a metal-polluted environment. The physiological and cellular ultrastructural responses of S. portulacastrum were studied hydroponically under exposure to a range of cadmium (Cd) concentrations (50 µM to 600 µM) for 28 days. The activity of antioxidant enzymes like catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and peroxidase (POD), changes in chlorophyll, and cellular ultrastructural content were examined. There was no significant difference in chlorophyll content in the leaf under the stress of 300 μM, but 400 μM and 600 μM Cd stress showed significantly decreased chlorophyll content. The SOD activity indicates an increase under the Cd stress of 100 μM for leaves, 300 μM for stems, and 50 μM for roots; after that, the SOD activity gradually decreased with increasing Cd concentrations. But POD activity was considerably increased with increasing Cd stress. CAT activity showed a gradual increase in concentrations until 300 μM of Cd stress and then decreased sharply in roots, stems, and leaf tissues. Cd stress had a considerable impact on the structure of the roots, stems, and leaves cells, such as distorted and thinner cell walls and the deformation of chloroplasts, mitochondria, and other organelles. Therefore, the increased number of nucleolus in the cell nucleus suggests that cells may be able to maintain their protein synthesis in a stressful environment. This study concludes that SOD is the dominant antioxidant enzyme activity during low Cd toxicity (<100 μM), while POD is the dominant enzyme activity during higher Cd toxicity (>100 μM). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metal Damage and Tolerance in Plants)
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18 pages, 3799 KiB  
Article
Response and Tolerance of Macleaya cordata to Excess Zinc Based on Transcriptome and Proteome Patterns
by Hongxiao Zhang, Linfeng Hu, Xinlong Du, Assar Ali Shah, Baseer Ahmad, Liming Yang and Zhiying Mu
Plants 2023, 12(12), 2275; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12122275 - 11 Jun 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1081
Abstract
Macleaya cordata is a dominant plant of mine tailings and a zinc (Zn) accumulator with high Zn tolerance. In this study, M. cordata seedlings cultured in Hoagland solution were treated with 200 μmol·L−1 of Zn for 1 day or 7 days, and [...] Read more.
Macleaya cordata is a dominant plant of mine tailings and a zinc (Zn) accumulator with high Zn tolerance. In this study, M. cordata seedlings cultured in Hoagland solution were treated with 200 μmol·L−1 of Zn for 1 day or 7 days, and then, their leaves were taken for a comparative analysis of the transcriptomes and proteomes between the leaves of the control and Zn treatments. Differentially expressed genes included those that were iron (Fe)-deficiency-induced, such as vacuolar iron transporter VIT, ABC transporter ABCI17 and ferric reduction oxidase FRO. Those genes were significantly upregulated by Zn and could be responsible for Zn transport in the leaves of M. cordata. Differentially expressed proteins, such as chlorophyll a/b-binding proteins, ATP-dependent protease, and vacuolar-type ATPase located on the tonoplast, were significantly upregulated by Zn and, thus, could be important in chlorophyll biosynthesis and cytoplasm pH stabilization. Moreover, the changes in Zn accumulation, the production of hydrogen peroxide, and the numbers of mesophyll cells in the leaves of M. cordata were consistent with the expression of the genes and proteins. Thus, the proteins involved in the homeostasis of Zn and Fe are hypothesized to be the keys to the tolerance and accumulation of Zn in M. cordata. Such mechanisms in M. cordata can suggest novel approaches to genetically engineering and biofortifying crops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metal Damage and Tolerance in Plants)
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13 pages, 954 KiB  
Article
Elevated CO2 Suppresses the Vanadium Stress in Wheat Plants under the Future Climate CO2
by Emad A. Alsherif and Hamada AbdElgawad
Plants 2023, 12(7), 1535; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12071535 - 2 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1274
Abstract
Increases in atmospheric CO2 is known to promote plant growth under heavy metals stress conditions. However, vanadium (V) stress mitigating the impact of eCO2 as well as the physiological and biochemical bases of this stress mitigation have not been well studied. [...] Read more.
Increases in atmospheric CO2 is known to promote plant growth under heavy metals stress conditions. However, vanadium (V) stress mitigating the impact of eCO2 as well as the physiological and biochemical bases of this stress mitigation have not been well studied. To this end, this study investigated the growth, photosynthetic parameters, oxidative damages antioxidants, and antioxidants enzymes in wheat plants grown under ambient (420 PPM) and high eCO2 (720 ppm) levels. Exposing wheat plants to higher V increased its accumulation in plants which consequentially inhibited plant growth and induced oxidative damage. An increase in antioxidant and detoxification defense systems was observed but it was not enough to reduce V stress toxicity. On the other hand, wheat growth was improved as a result of reduced V uptake and toxicity on photosynthesis under eCO2. To reduce V uptake, wheat accumulated citric acid, and oxalic acid in soil preferentially under both treatments but to more extend under V and eCO2. Additionally, improved photosynthesis induced high carbon availability that was directed to produce chelating proteins (metallothioneins, phytochelatin) and antioxidants (phenolics, flavonoids, total antioxidant capacity). This study advances our knowledge of the processes behind the variations in the physiological and biochemical responses of the wheat crop under V and eCO2 conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metal Damage and Tolerance in Plants)
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13 pages, 3499 KiB  
Article
Understanding the Active Mechanisms of Plant (Sesuvium portulacastrum L.) against Heavy Metal Toxicity
by Emad A. Alsherif, Mohammad Yaghoubi Khanghahi, Carmine Crecchio, Shereen Magdy Korany, Renato Lustosa Sobrinho and Hamada AbdElgawad
Plants 2023, 12(3), 676; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12030676 - 3 Feb 2023
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2141
Abstract
Through metabolic analysis, the present research seeks to reveal the defense mechanisms activated by a heavy metals-resistant plant, Sesuvium portulacastrum L. In this regard, shifting metabolisms in this plant were investigated in different heavy metals-contaminated experimental sites, which were 50, 100, 500, 1000, [...] Read more.
Through metabolic analysis, the present research seeks to reveal the defense mechanisms activated by a heavy metals-resistant plant, Sesuvium portulacastrum L. In this regard, shifting metabolisms in this plant were investigated in different heavy metals-contaminated experimental sites, which were 50, 100, 500, 1000, and 5000 m away from a man-fabricated sewage dumping lake, with a wide range of pollutant concentrations. Heavy metals contaminations in contaminated soil and their impact on mineral composition and microbial population were also investigated. The significant findings to emerge from this research were the modifications of nitrogen and carbon metabolisms in plant tissues to cope with heavy metal toxicity. Increased plant amylase enzymes activity in contaminated soils increased starch degradation to soluble sugars as a mechanism to mitigate stress impact. Furthermore, increased activity of sucrose phosphate synthase in contaminated plants led to more accumulation of sucrose. Moreover, no change in the content of sucrose hydrolyzing enzymes (vacuolar invertase and cytosolic invertase) in the contaminated sites can suggest the translocation of sucrose from shoot to root under stress. Similarly, although this study demonstrated a high level of malate in plants exposed to stress, caution must be applied in suggesting a strong link between organic acids and the activation of defense mechanisms in plants, since other key organic acids were not affected by stress. Therefore, activation of other defense mechanisms, especially antioxidant defense molecules including alpha and beta tocopherols, showed a greater role in protecting plants from heavy metals stress. Moreover, the increment in the content of some amino acids (e.g., glycine, alanine, glutamate, arginine, and ornithine) in plants under metal toxicity can be attributed to a high level of stress tolerance. Moreover, strategies in the excitation of the synthesis of the unsaturated fatty acids (oleic and palmitoleic) were involved in enhancing stress tolerance, which was unexpectedly associated with an increase in the accumulation of palmitic and stearic (saturated fatty acids). Taken together, it can be concluded that these multiple mechanisms were involved in the response to stress which may be cooperative and complementary with each other in inducing resistance to the plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metal Damage and Tolerance in Plants)
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Review

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25 pages, 2399 KiB  
Review
Chromium Toxicity in Plants: Signaling, Mitigation, and Future Perspectives
by Sajad Ali, Rakeeb A. Mir, Anshika Tyagi, Nazia Manzar, Abhijeet Shankar Kashyap, Muntazir Mushtaq, Aamir Raina, Suvin Park, Sandhya Sharma, Zahoor A. Mir, Showkat A. Lone, Ajaz A. Bhat, Uqab Baba, Henda Mahmoudi and Hanhong Bae
Plants 2023, 12(7), 1502; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12071502 - 29 Mar 2023
Cited by 26 | Viewed by 6031
Abstract
Plants are very often confronted by different heavy metal (HM) stressors that adversely impair their growth and productivity. Among HMs, chromium (Cr) is one of the most prevalent toxic trace metals found in agricultural soils because of anthropogenic activities, lack of efficient treatment, [...] Read more.
Plants are very often confronted by different heavy metal (HM) stressors that adversely impair their growth and productivity. Among HMs, chromium (Cr) is one of the most prevalent toxic trace metals found in agricultural soils because of anthropogenic activities, lack of efficient treatment, and unregulated disposal. It has a huge detrimental impact on the physiological, biochemical, and molecular traits of crops, in addition to being carcinogenic to humans. In soil, Cr exists in different forms, including Cr (III) “trivalent” and Cr (VI) “hexavalent”, but the most pervasive and severely hazardous form to the biota is Cr (VI). Despite extensive research on the effects of Cr stress, the exact molecular mechanisms of Cr sensing, uptake, translocation, phytotoxicity, transcript processing, translation, post-translational protein modifications, as well as plant defensive responses are still largely unknown. Even though plants lack a Cr transporter system, it is efficiently accumulated and transported by other essential ion transporters, hence posing a serious challenge to the development of Cr-tolerant cultivars. In this review, we discuss Cr toxicity in plants, signaling perception, and transduction. Further, we highlight various mitigation processes for Cr toxicity in plants, such as microbial, chemical, and nano-based priming. We also discuss the biotechnological advancements in mitigating Cr toxicity in plants using plant and microbiome engineering approaches. Additionally, we also highlight the role of molecular breeding in mitigating Cr toxicity in sustainable agriculture. Finally, some conclusions are drawn along with potential directions for future research in order to better comprehend Cr signaling pathways and its mitigation in sustainable agriculture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metal Damage and Tolerance in Plants)
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