Main content area

Bioaccumulation and tolerance characteristics of a submerged plant (Ceratophyllum demersum L.) exposed to toxic metal lead

Chen, Min, Zhang, Ling-Lei, Li, Jia, He, Xiao-Jia, Cai, Jun-Chi
Ecotoxicology and environmental safety 2015 v.122 pp. 313-321
Ceratophyllum demersum, bioaccumulation, biomass, catalase, catechol oxidase, enzyme activity, exposure duration, hydroponics, isozymes, lead, malondialdehyde, peroxidase, phenylalanine ammonia-lyase, phytoremediation, protein content, regression analysis, submerged aquatic plants, superoxide dismutase, toxicity
A hydroponic study was conducted to investigate the lead bioaccumulation and tolerance characteristics of Ceratophyllum demersum L. exposed to various lead concentrations (5–80μM) for 7, 14 or 21 days. Lead accumulation increased with increasing concentrations of metal in the solution, to a maximum accumulation of 4016.4mgkg–1 dw. Unexpectedly, the release of accumulated lead from the plants into solution was observed for all experimental groups except those exposed to 5μM. Both the biomass and protein content of the plants responded significantly to lead stress. Malondialdehyde (MDA) levels increased substantially at lead concentrations below 20μM, further indicating that this metal is toxic to the plants. To reveal the mechanism underlying the defense against lead stress, plants were also assayed for the activities of the antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and peroxidase (POD), as well as other relevant enzymes such as phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL) and polyphenol oxidase (PPO). The activities of both SOD and CAT increased at lower lead concentrations and with shorter exposure times, followed by a decline, but the activities of POD and its isoenzymes continued to increase under all conditions. Moreover, increases in the activities of PAL and PPO were observed only for the 14-day treatment, and these two enzymes were not sensitive to lead concentration. These results suggest that C. demersum exhibits strong tolerance within a specific concentration range of lead in solution; according to regression analysis, 40μM is suggested to be this plant's tolerance threshold for lead in water. Furthermore, the malfunction of this tolerance mechanism might accelerate the metal-release process. These attributes are likely to be beneficial for utilizing C. demersum in phytoremediation applications.