Plant associated soil mechanisms of cadmium uptake and translocation in chicory and plantain : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Environmental Science at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

dc.confidentialEmbargo : Noen_US
dc.contributor.advisorJeyakumar, Paramsothy
dc.contributor.authorUbeynarayana, Nilusha
dc.description.abstractCadmium (Cd) is a non-essential trace element that is extensively distributed in the environment. Cadmium is effectively absorbed by plant roots and transported to its aerial parts and plants growing in soils with high Cd concentration can accumulate Cd in their roots and shoots to levels which can threaten human and animal health. Elevated Cd concentrations in New Zealand agricultural soils are a function of the country’s long-term history of using Cd-contaminated phosphate fertiliser. Recent studies have identified that two forage species chicory (Cichorium intybus L.) and plantain (Plantago lanceolata L.), which are increasingly used in New Zealand agriculture, accumulate a significantly higher shoot Cd concentration than traditional pasture species. The variation in Cd accumulation between forage species suggests that different plants have different abilities to absorb Cd in roots and translocate this trace element from roots to shoots. Thus, Cd uptake and the potential translocation of Cd to aerial tissues deserves more research, particularly for forage species of economic importance to countries such as New Zealand, where agriculture is dependent on pastoral grazing systems. Information from such studies will be useful in mitigating the continuing risk of Cd transfer into the food chain. The overall aim of this thesis is to better understand Cd uptake and translocation mechanisms in chicory and plantain. Cadmium uptake by plant roots is a function of rhizosphere soil chemistry and the interaction between plant roots and soil solution. Plants exude Low Molecular Weight Organic Acids (LMWOA) into soil solution and these play a key role in regulating Cd bioavailability. A pot trial was conducted to evaluate the influence of increasing soil Cd concentration on the secretion of LMWOAs by chicory and plantain roots and to analyse their impact on plant Cd uptake. Chicory and plantain were grown under increasing Cd levels and showed variable secretion of oxalic, fumaric, malic and acetic acids as a function of Cd treatment. Results revealed that the primary cause for the significant increase of shoot and root Cd concentration in both chicory and plantain, as a function of treatment level, is the significantly greater bioavailable Cd concentration in soil solution with increasing Cd treatment level. The significantly higher shoot Cd accumulation in chicory (18.63 mg Cd/kg DW) than plantain (4.22 mg Cd/kg DW) at the highest tested soil Cd concentration (1.6 mg Cd/kg) can be explained by increased acetic acid and reduced fumaric acid excretion from chicory relative to plantain. Increased understanding of Cd translocation mechanisms in plants requires knowledge of the free Cd2+ ion concentration in xylem saps. However, the determination of low concentrations of free Cd2+ ions in a low volume of xylem sap poses an analytical challenge. To overcome this limitation, a thiosalicylic-acid-modified carbon-paste electrode was developed as an alternative and reliable measurement tool for the detection of free Cd2+ ions in environmental samples, including xylem saps. Compared to other Cd2+ ion ligands used to develop Cd2+-ion-specific electrodes in literature, thiosalicylic acid is a readily available solid, which is stable to air, making it a conveniently handled ligand. The developed electrode showed a lower detection limit of 11 μg Cd/L (0.1   10-6 mol Cd/L) with a linear range from 20 to 100 μg Cd/L (0.18   10-6 to 0.88   10-6 mol Cd/L). To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time a Cd2+ ion-specific electrode was developed to determine free Cd2+ ion concentration in plant xylem sap. The modified electrode has the ability to distinguish between total Cd and free Cd2+ in solution and measure only the free Cd2+ ions in environmental samples, including xylem sap, with high precision (RSD<5%). Subsequent analysis using the thiosalicylic acid modified electrode showed that Cd is mainly in a complex form in chicory and plantain xylem sap. Therefore, a glasshouse experiment was set up with six increasing Cd concentrations in hydroponic solution to assess the impact of LMWOA on xylem sap Cd translocation and shoot accumulation in chicory and plantain. Results revealed that both chicory and plantain showed variable production of oxalic, fumaric, citric, malic and acetic acids with increasing Cd concentration in the hydroponic media. The higher shoot Cd accumulation (by 28-208%) in chicory compared to plantain can be explained in terms of variations in LMWOA production between chicory and plantain. Functional relationship analysis showed that the primary cause for higher shoot Cd concentration in chicory relative to plantain is fumaric acid production in chicory xylem sap which may bind with Cd in chicory and translocate the metal towards shoots. To explore the specific role of fumaric and acetic acids on Cd uptake and translocation in chicory, a glasshouse experiment was conducted with the external addition of fumaric and acetic acid into the hydroponic solution. Increasing fumaric acid concentration in the hydroponic solution showed the ability to reduce Cd uptake and translocation in chicory with a maximum reduction achieved at 10 mg/L and 50 mg/L fumaric acid treatment for root and shoot Cd accumulation, (respectively) for a solution concentration of 1 mg/L Cd. The shoot Cd concentration significantly increased at lower acetic acid treatment levels (1 mg/L) and reduced with increasing acetic acid concentrations from 10 mg/L to 50 mg/L in the presence of 1 mg Cd/L solution concentration. However, the root Cd accumulation increased as a function of acetic acid concentration in the hydroponic solution up to 50 mg/L acetic acid treatment. The root: shoot Cd concentration ratio showed a significant positive correlation (R=0.729 P<0.05) with acetic acid treatments (up to 50 mg/L treatment). Chicory biomass significantly reduced at all LMWOA treatments compared to the control treatment in the presence of 1 mg Cd/L Cd level, showing that there was a limited potential ameliorative effect of LMWOA on Cd toxicity at any concentration for the experimental conditions used in this study. This study highlights that variations in plant root LMWOA secretion and xylem sap LMWOA production between chicory and plantain can explain the different shoot Cd accumulation characteristics of these two forage species. This work shows that fumaric acid plays a fundamental role in both Cd uptake and translocation in chicory, while such a role is not clear for plantain. Low secretion of fumaric acid by roots and production of fumaric acid in chicory xylem sap aid to increase shoot Cd accumulation in chicory compared to plantain while low acetic acid secretion by chicory roots supports the high shoot Cd accumulation in chicory compared to plantain. Future work is recommended to develop a new cultivar of chicory which express traits of variations in fumaric acid production and acetic acid production. Such work may yield new cultivars of chicory which restrict the translocation of Cd from roots to shoots in this important forage species. The future application of this work is to help develop strategies which could assist in mitigating high Cd accumulation in offal to maintain the standards of New Zealand’s food production.en_US
dc.publisherMassey Universityen_US
dc.rightsThe Authoren_US
dc.subjectEnvironmental aspectsen
dc.subjectCadmium contenten
dc.subjectEffect of cadmium onen
dc.subjectNew Zealanden
dc.subject.anzsrc300204 Agricultural management of nutrientsen
dc.titlePlant associated soil mechanisms of cadmium uptake and translocation in chicory and plantain : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Environmental Science at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealanden_US
massey.contributor.authorUbeynarayana, Nilushaen_US Sciencesen_US Universityen_US of Philosophy (PhD)en_US
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