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Copper-induced oxidative stress and responses of antioxidants and phytochelatins in Hydrilla verticillata (L.f.) Royle

Srivastava, S., Mishra, S., Tripathi, R.D., Dwivedi, S., Gupta, D.K.
Aquatic toxicology 2006 v.80 no.4 pp. 405-415
water pollution, copper, heavy metals, macrophytes, Hydrilla verticillata, oxidative stress, phytochelatins, antioxidants, physiological response, enzyme activity, pigments, plant growth, thiols, protein content, electrical conductivity, malondialdehyde
Copper, though essential, is potentially toxic heavy metal at supraoptimal level and has widespread contamination. The present investigation was carried out to study the responses induced by lower as well as higher doses of copper (0.1-25 μM) in an aquatic macrophyte, Hydrilla verticillata (L.f.) Royle for a period of 1-7 days. The plants accumulated copper in high amount with a maximum of 770 μg g-1 dw on day 7 at 25 μM. Biomass and photosynthetic pigments showed less alteration up to 1 μM while at higher concentrations, significant decline occurred. Malondialdehyde (MDA) content and electrical conductivity (EC) also showed sharp increase at higher concentrations indicating oxidative stress. In response to copper exposure, plants showed significant induction of proteins and enzymes like superoxide dismutase (SOD), ascorbate peroxidase (APX), guaiacol peroxidase (GPX), catalase (CAT) and glutathione reductase (GR), however, only up to moderate exposures. Total non-protein thiols (NP-SH) and cysteine levels increased significantly up to 5 μM copper exposure while at 25 μM, their level declined drastically. Reduced glutathione (GSH) showed decrease at all concentrations while oxidized glutathione (GSSG) simultaneously increased. Phytochelatins (PCs) were also induced significantly at studied concentrations of 1 and 5 μM on day 4 in comparison to control. However, copper chelation depicted by PC-SH to copper ratio was found to be low (6.5% at 1 μM and 2.4% at 5 μM) suggesting that PCs play only a part in integrated mechanisms of copper homeostasis and detoxification. Tolerant response of plants to moderate copper exposures and high accumulation potential warrants their suitability for remediation of moderately copper polluted water bodies.