Heavy metals, occurrence and toxicity for plants: A review. Environmental Chemistry Letters, 8(3), 199-216

Environmental Chemistry Letters (Impact Factor: 2.57). 09/2010; 8(3):199-216. DOI: 10.1007/s10311-010-0297-8


Metal contamination issues are becoming increasingly common in India and elsewhere, with many documented cases of metal toxicity
in mining industries, foundries, smelters, coal-burning power plants and agriculture. Heavy metals, such as cadmium, copper,
lead, chromium and mercury are major environmental pollutants, particularly in areas with high anthropogenic pressure. Heavy
metal accumulation in soils is of concern in agricultural production due to the adverse effects on food safety and marketability,
crop growth due to phytotoxicity, and environmental health of soil organisms. The influence of plants and their metabolic
activities affects the geological and biological redistribution of heavy metals through pollution of the air, water and soil.
This article details the range of heavy metals, their occurrence and toxicity for plants. Metal toxicity has high impact and
relevance to plants and consequently it affects the ecosystem, where the plants form an integral component. Plants growing
in metal-polluted sites exhibit altered metabolism, growth reduction, lower biomass production and metal accumulation. Various
physiological and biochemical processes in plants are affected by metals. The contemporary investigations into toxicity and
tolerance in metal-stressed plants are prompted by the growing metal pollution in the environment. A few metals, including
copper, manganese, cobalt, zinc and chromium are, however, essential to plant metabolism in trace amounts. It is only when
metals are present in bioavailable forms and at excessive levels, they have the potential to become toxic to plants. This
review focuses mainly on zinc, cadmium, copper, mercury, chromium, lead, arsenic, cobalt, nickel, manganese and iron.

KeywordsHeavy metals-Environment-Toxic effects-Plants-Anthropogenic activities

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    • "Examples of toxic elements reported to accumulate at the leaf margin include: fluoride (Jacobson et al., 1966), boron (Sotiropoulos et al., 2002), aluminum (Pavan and Bingham, 1982), manganese (Kitao et al., 2001), and cadmium (Vollenweider et al., 2006). Heavy metals and other toxic trace elements can cause oxidative damage in leaves by inducing the formation of free radicals, reducing levels of antioxidants, and destabilizing membranes, all of which have significant consequences for photosynthetic processes (see review by Nagajyoti et al., 2010). Additionally, heavy metals can affect plant water relations at the leaf level (reviewed in Barceló and Poschenrieder, 1990) by inducing stomatal closure (Perfus- Barbeoch et al., 2002). "

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    • "Chromium mainly enters in the soil environment due to natural sources, parent material and volcanoes etc, anthropogenic activities, domestic effluent, tanning, mining and electroplating etc, and atmospheric depositions (Nagajyoti et al. 2010; Ali Z et al. 2015). Chromium is non-essential metal because it has no known biological functions (Nagajyoti et al. 2010; Samantaray et al. 2015). Chromium causes toxic effects on plants and decreased plant growth and biomass as well as disturbed water balance, mineral nutrition, photosynthesis and enzymes activity (Rodriguez et al. 2012; Ali et al. 2013; Ali S et al. 2015; Gill et al. 2015). "
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    ABSTRACT: A pot experiment was conducted to evaluate the role of glycinebetaine (GB) in chromium (Cr) tolerance in mung bean (Vigna radiata L.) grown in Cr-stressed soil. Three concentrations of Cr (0, 250 and 500 µM) were tested with three (0, 50 and 100 mM) concentrations of foliar-applied GB. Cr alone led to a significant decrease in plant growth, biomass, and concentrations of chlorophyll a, b and carotenoids. Cr concentration and electrolyte leakage significantly increased in plants with increasing Cr levels in the soil. Lower Cr stress enhanced the activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD), peroxidases (POD) and catalase (CAT), while higher Cr concentrations decreased the activities of these enzymes. Foliar application of GB successfully alleviated toxic effects of Cr on mung bean and increased plant growth, biomass and chlorophyll contents under Cr stress. GB application reduced Cr accumulation and electrolyte leakage in plants and enhanced the activities of antioxidant enzymes in both shoots and roots as compared with Cr treatments alone. These findings suggest that foliar-applied GB alleviated Cr-induced oxidative stress in mung bean by reducing Cr uptake. The protective effect of GB against Cr stress varies with the concentrations of GB and Cr stress applied. Thus, further studies are still needed to specify the concentrations of GB required for detoxification of specific Cr concentrations under various climatic conditions.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Archives of Agronomy and Soil Science
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    • "[1] [2] It is 20 a part of hemoglobin, myoglobin, cytochrome, aconitase, fumarate reductase and many proteins and enzymes essential for metabolism. [1] The content of iron in an adult man is about 4 g. Fe deficiency causes anemia and undesirable pathological conditions. "
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    ABSTRACT: Two new methods for the determination of iron by atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS) are proposed for drinking water. The determination was made after flotation concentration of Fe by using of two new flotation collectors: lead(II) heptyldithiocarbamate, Pb(HpDTC)2 and cobalt(III) heptyldithiocarbamate Co(HpDTC)3. All important parameters for the two proposed procedures were optimised (pH, mass of Pb, mass of Co, amount of HpDTC ̵ , type of surfactant, induction time, etc.). Flotation recovery (R) of Fe was very high (from 94.4 to 104.4%) for the two proposed procedures. The detection limit of the methods was 2.17 μg/L for Pb(HpDTC)2 and 2.39 μg/L for Co(HpDTC)3, respectively. The proposed methods have been applied for the analysis of five samples of drinking water. The acquired AAS results for Fe by both new methods were compared with those obtained by inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectrometry (AES-ICP). It is shown that they are in good agreement. The results are also confirmed by the method of standard additions.
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