Tamara Chadzinikolau, Monika Kozłowska, Mirosław Mleczek
Induction of phytochelatins and flavonoids in cadmium polluted Berberis thunbergii
Dendrobiology 2017, vol. 77: 139-146
Cadmium tolerance has been widely studied in various plant species. The study was undertaken to assess the response of Berberis thunbergii, commonly growing under urban conditions, to increasing concentrations of cadmium (1, 4 and 16 mg of Cd kg–1 soil). Experiments were conducted from June to August in a greenhouse. Accumulation of cadmium ions in barberry leaves was observed, at a simultaneous occurrence of mechanisms reducing its harmful effects by an increased synthesis of phytochelatins (PCs). Generation of PCs – putative heavy metal chelators was related to the phytochelatin synthase activity (PCS) and the level of metal accumulation. Increased contents of anthocyanins and flavonols in cadmium polluted barberry, considering that it is a coloured-leaf plant seems important in aspect of their multifunctional role in plant-environment interactions. Besides the capacity to chelate heavy metals, flavonoids are antioxidants and efficiently scavenge free radicals. Moreover, the content of chloroplast pigments was determined, but the changes were non-significant.
Keywords: heavy metals, barberry, phytochelatin synthase, phytochelatins, flavonoids, chloroplast pigments