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Title: Photosynthesis light-independent reactions are sensitive biomarkers to monitor lead phytotoxicity in a Pb-tolerant Pisum sativum cultivar
Author: Rodriguez, Eleazar
Santos, Maria da Conceição
Azevedo, Raquel
Correia, Carlos
Moutinho-Pereira, José
Pimenta Ferreira de Oliveira, José Miguel
Dias, Maria Celeste
Keywords: Biomarkers
Lead toxicity
Pisum sativum
Net CO2 assimilation
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Springer
Abstract: Lead (Pb) environmental contamination remains prevalent. Pisum sativum L. plants have been used in ecotoxicological studies, but some cultivars showed to tolerate and accumulate some levels of Pb, opening new perspectives to their use in phytoremediation approaches. However, the putative use of pea plants in phytoremediation requires reliable toxicity endpoints. Here, we evaluated the sensitivity of a large number of photosynthesis-related biomarkers in Pbexposed pea plants. Plants (cv. “Corne de Bélier”) were exposed to Pb concentrations up to 1,000 mg kg−1 soil during 28 days. The photosynthetic potential biomarkers that were analyzed included pigments, chlorophyll (Chl) a fluorescence, gas exchange, ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/ oxygenase (RuBisCO) activity, and carbohydrates. Flow cytometry (FCM) was also used to assess the morpho-functional status of chloroplasts. Finally, Pb-induced nutrient disorders were also evaluated. Net CO2 assimilation rate (A) and RuBisCO activity decreased strongly in Pb-exposed plants. Plant dry mass (DM) accumulation, however, was only reduced in the higher Pb concentrations tested (500 and 1,000 mg kg−1 soil). Pigment contents increased solely in plants exposed to the largest Pb concentration, and in addition, the parameters related to the light-dependent reactions of photosynthesis, Fv/Fm and ΦPSII, were not affected by Pb exposure. In contrast to this, carbohydrates showed an overall tendency to increase in Pb-exposed plants. The morphological status of chloroplasts was affected by Pb exposure, with a general trend of volume decrease and granularity increase. These results point the endpoints related to the lightindependent reactions of photosynthesis as more sensitive predictors of Pb-toxicity than the light-dependent reactions ones. Among the endpoints related to the light-independent photosynthesis reactions, RuBisCO activity and Awere found to be the most sensitive. We discuss here the advantages of using these parameters as biomarkers for Pb toxicity in plants. Finally, we report that, despite showing physiological disorders, these cultivar plants survived and accumulated high doses of Pb, and their use in environmental/decontamination studies is open to debate.
Peer review: yes
DOI: 10.3166/10.1007/s11356-014-3375-9
ISSN: 0944-1344
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