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Bioaccumulation of heavy metals and ecophysiological responses to heavy metal stress in selected populations of Vaccinium myrtillus L. and Vaccinium vitis-idaea L

Kandziora-Ciupa, Marta, Nadgórska-Socha, Aleksandra, Barczyk, Gabriela, Ciepał, Ryszard
Ecotoxicology 2017 v.26 no.7 pp. 966-980
Vaccinium myrtillus, Vaccinium vitis-idaea, antioxidant activity, ascorbic acid, bilberries, bioaccumulation, bioavailability, cadmium, calcium chloride, conservation areas, ecophysiology, glutathione, heavy metals, iron, lead, leaves, manganese, nitric acid, peroxidase, physiological response, power plants, proline, soil, superoxide dismutase, thiols, zinc, Poland
The aim of this study was to determine the concentrations of heavy metals (Cd, Pb, Zn, Fe, and Mn) in soil, and their bioavailability and bioaccumulation in Vaccinium myrtillus L. and Vaccinium vitis-idaea L. organs. Analysis also concerned the physiological responses of these plants from three polluted sites (immediate vicinity of a zinc smelter in Miasteczko Śląskie, ArcelorMittal Poland S.A. iron smelter in Dąbrowa Górnicza-Łosień, and Jaworzno III power plant in Jaworzno) and one pseudo-control site (Pazurek nature reserve in Jaroszowiec Olkuski). All of the sites are situated in the southern parts of Poland in the Śląskie or Małopolskie provinces. The contents of proline, non-protein thiols, glutathione, ascorbic acid, and the activity of superoxide dismutase and guaiacol peroxidase in the leaves of Vaccinium myrtillus L. and Vaccinium vitis-idaea L. were measured. In soil, the highest levels of Cd, Pb, and Zn (HNO₃ extracted and CaCl₂ extracted) were detected at the Miasteczko Śląskie site. At all sites a several times lower concentration of the examined metals was determined in the fraction of soil extracted with CaCl₂. Much higher Cd, Pb, Zn and Fe concentrations were found in V. myrtillus and V. vitis-idaea grown at the most polluted site (located near the zinc smelter) in comparison with cleaner areas; definitely higher bioaccumulation of these metals was found in lingonberry organs. Additionally, we observed a large capability of bilberry to accumulate Mn. Antioxidant response to heavy metal stress also differed between V. myrtillus and V. vitis-idaea. In V. myrtillus we found a positive correlation between the level of non-protein thiols and Cd and Zn concentrations, and also between proline and these metals. In V. vitis-idaea leaves an upward trend in ascorbic acid content and superoxide dismutase activity accompanied an increase in Cd, Pb, and Zn concentrations. At the same time, the increased levels of all tested metals in the leaves of V. vitis-idaea were accompanied by a decreased activity of guaiacol peroxidase. In both species increased Mn accumulation caused a decrease in antioxidant response.