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Comparative analyses of cadmium and zinc uptake correlated with changes in natural resistance-associated macrophage protein (NRAMP) expression in Solanum nigrum L. and Brassica rapa

journal contribution
posted on 2014-11-05, 00:00 authored by Y Song, Lee Hudek, David Freestone, J Puhui, Agnes MichalczykAgnes Michalczyk, Z Senlin, Leigh AcklandLeigh Ackland
Environmental context Soils contaminated with metals can pose both environmental and human health risks. This study showed that a common crop vegetable grown in the presence of cadmium and zinc readily accumulated these metals, and thus could be a source of toxicity when eaten. The work highlights potential health risks from consuming crops grown on contaminated soils. Abstract Ingestion of plants grown in heavy metal contaminated soils can cause toxicity because of metal accumulation. We compared Cd and Zn levels in Brassica rapa, a widely grown crop vegetable, with that of the hyperaccumulator Solanum nigrum L. Solanum nigrum contained 4 times more Zn and 12 times more Cd than B. rapa, relative to dry mass. In S. nigrum Cd and Zn preferentially accumulated in the roots whereas in B. rapa Cd and Zn were concentrated more in the shoots than in the roots. The different distribution of Cd and Zn in B. rapa and S. nigrum suggests the presence of distinct metal uptake mechanisms. We correlated plant metal content with the expression of a conserved putative natural resistance-associated macrophage protein (NRAMP) metal transporter in both plants. Treatment of both plants with either Cd or Zn increased expression of the NRAMP, with expression levels being higher in the roots than in the shoots. These findings provide insights into the molecular mechanisms of heavy metal processing by S. nigrum L. and the crop vegetable B. rapa that could assist in application of these plants for phytoremediation. These investigations also highlight potential health risks associated with the consumption of crops grown on contaminated soils.



Environmental Chemistry






653 - 660


CSIRO Publishing


Clayton, Vic.





Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2014, CSIRO Publishing