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The enzymatic and antioxidative stress response of Lemna minor to copper and a chloroacetamide herbicide

Obermeier, Michael, Schröder, Christian A., Helmreich, Brigitte, Schröder, Peter
Environmental science and pollution research international 2015 v.22 no.23 pp. 18495-18507
Lemna minor, agrochemicals, copper, copper sulfate, enzyme activity, enzymes, fronds, glutathione, growth retardation, heavy metals, hydrogen peroxide, metabolism, oxidative stress, phytoremediation, plant growth, pollutants, rural areas, stress response, superoxide anion, surface water, toxicity testing, water pollution, water quality, xenobiotics
Lemna minor L., a widely used model plant for toxicity tests has raised interest for its application to phytoremediation due to its rapid growth and ubiquitous occurrence. In rural areas, the pollution of water bodies with heavy metals and agrochemicals poses a problem to surface water quality. Among problematic compounds, heavy metals (copper) and pesticides are frequently found in water bodies. To establish duckweed as a potential plant for phytoremediation, enzymatic and antioxidative stress responses of Lemna minor during exposure to copper and a chloroacetamide herbicide were investigated in laboratory studies. The present study aimed at evaluating growth and the antioxidative and glutathione-dependent enzyme activity of Lemna plants and its performance in a scenario for phytoremediation of copper and a chloroacetamide herbicide. Lemna minor was grown in Steinberg medium under controlled conditions. Plants were treated with CuSO₄ (ion conc. 50 and 100 μg/L) and pethoxamide (1.25 and 2.5 μg/L). Measurements following published methods focused on plant growth, oxidative stress, and basic detoxification enzymes. Duckweed proved to survive treatment with the respective concentrations of both pollutants very well. Its growth was inhibited scarcely, and no visible symptoms occurred. On the cellular basis, accumulation of O₂ ⁻ and H₂O₂ were detected, as well as stress reactions of antioxidative enzymes. Duckweed detoxification potential for organic pollutants was high and increased significantly with incubation. Pethoxamide was found to be conjugated with glutathione. Copper was accumulated in the fronds at high levels, and transient oxidative defense reactions were triggered. This work confirms the significance of L. minor for the removal of copper from water and the conjugation of the selective herbicide pethoxamide. Both organic and inorganic xenobiotics induced different trends of enzymatic and antioxidative stress response. The strong increase of stress responses following copper exposure is well known as oxidative burst, which is probably different from the much more long-lasting responses found in plants exposed to pethoxamide. Lemna sp. might be used as a tool for phytoremediation of low-level contamination with metals and organic xenobiotics, however the authors recommend a more detailed analysis of the development of the oxidative burst following copper exposure and of the enzymatic metabolism of pethoxamide in order to elucidate the extent of its removal from water.