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Cadmium, Copper, and Lead Accumulation and Bioconcentration in the Vegetative and Reproductive Organs of Raphanus sativus: Implications for Plant Performance and Pollination

Hladun, Kristen R., Parker, David R., Trumble, John T.
Journal of chemical ecology 2015 v.41 no.4 pp. 386-395
Raphanus sativus, beehives, bioaccumulation factor, cadmium, copper, exposure pathways, flowers, foraging, greenhouse production, herbivores, honey bees, lead, leaves, nutrient solutions, plant organs, pollination, pollinators, pollution, radishes, risk, sand, tissues, toxicity, urbanization
Several studies have found high levels of cadmium (Cd), copper (Cu), and lead (Pb) in honey bee hives located near urbanized or industrial areas. Insect herbivores and pollinators may come in contact with environmental contaminants in the leaves and flowers they forage upon in these areas. Our study quantified which of these metals are accumulated in the tissues of a common weedy plant that can serve as a route of exposure for insects. We grew Raphanus sativus (crop radish) in semi-hydroponic sand culture in the greenhouse. Plants were irrigated with nutrient solutions containing Cd, Cu, or Pb at four concentrations (control, low, medium, high). Plant performance, floral traits, and metal accumulation were measured in various vegetative and reproductive plant organs. Floral traits and flower number were unaffected by all metal treatments. Copper accumulated at the highest concentrations in flowers compared to the other two metals. Copper and Cd had the highest translocation indices, as well as higher bioconcentration factors compared to Pb, which was mostly immobile in the plant. Copper posed the highest risk due to its high mobility within the plant. In particular, accumulation of metals in leaves and flowers suggests that herbivores and pollinators visiting and foraging on these tissues may be exposed to these potentially toxic compounds.