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Modulation of the defence responses against Cd in willow species through a multifaceted analysis

Touati, Mouna, Bottega, Stefania, Ruffini Castiglione, Monica, Sorce, Carlo, Béjaoui, Zoubeir, Spanò, Carmelina
Plant physiology and biochemistry 2019 v.142 pp. 125-136
Salix alba, Salix viminalis, antioxidant activity, cadmium, cadmium chloride, hydroponics, leaves, oxidative stress, photochemistry, photosynthesis, phytoaccumulation, root systems, roots, stomatal conductance
Willow, due to the extensive root system, high transpiration rates and ability to accumulate large amounts of cadmium, is considered particularly useful for green remediation practices. In this study two different willow species, Salix viminalis and Salix alba, were used to assess possible differences in their ability of cadmium accumulation and to analyse in detail the physiology of their response to treatments with this metal using a multidisciplinary approach. Plants were grown in hydroponics and treated with 0, 50 and 100 μM Cd2+ (CdCl2) for 7 and 14 days. Cadmium content, oxidative stress, both evaluated by biochemical and histochemical techniques, antioxidant response, leaf stomatal conductance and photosynthetic efficiency were measured in control and treated roots and/or leaves. The two willow species removed cadmium with a high efficiency from the growth solution; however, the highest contents of Cd recorded in plants grown in the presence of the lower Cd concentrations suggest a limited capacity of metal accumulation. No photochemical limitation characterised treated plants, probably due to the ability to store large amounts of Cd in the root compartment, with reduction of damage to the photosynthetic machinery. S. viminalis, able to uptake cadmium also in the root apical region, seemed to be a more efficient accumulator than S. alba and, thanks to a relatively higher antioxidant response, did not show a higher level of oxidative stress. On the basis of the above, the two plant species, in particular S. viminalis, are confirmed as useful for cadmium phytostabilisation/phytoextraction.