Volume 23, Number 1, January-February 2003
Page(s) 3 - 11
Agronomie 23 (2003) 3-11
DOI: 10.1051/agro:2002073

Effect of Metal Toxicity on Plant Growth and Metabolism: I. Zinc

Gyana Ranjan Rout and Premananda Das

Plant Biotechnology Division, Regional Plant Resource Centre, Nayapalli, Bhubaneswar - 751 015, India
(Received 2 March 2001; revised 21 December 2001; accepted 14 May 2002)

Zinc toxicity and problems with regard to tolerance and ecological significance are briefly discussed. Differential tolerance of plant genotypes exposed to zinc toxicity is a more promising approach to enrich our understanding of zinc tolerance in plants. Knowledge concerning the physiology and biochemistry with regard to phytotoxicity, uptake and transport of zinc and tolerance and its characterization are also discussed. The cytotoxic effects of zinc on plants are elucidated. The major change was seen in the nucleus of the root tip cells due to zinc toxicity. The chromatin material was highly condensed and some of the cortical cells showed disruption and dilation of nuclear membrane in presence of 7.5 mM zinc. The cytoplasm became structureless, disintegration of cell organelles and the development of vacuoles were also observed. The number of nucleoli also increased in response to zinc resulting in the synthesis of new protein involved in heavy metal tolerance. This review may help in interdisciplinary studies to assess the ecological significance of metal stress.

Effet de la toxicité des métaux sur la croissance et le métabolisme des plantes : I. Zinc. La toxicité du zinc et les problèmes de tolérance ou de conséquence écologique liés sont brièvement discutés. L'approche en terme de tolérance différentielle des génotypes de plantes exposées à la toxicité du zinc est prometteuse pour l'enrichissement de notre compréhension de la tolérance des plantes au zinc. Les connaissances de la physiologie et la biochimie face à la phytotoxicité, à l'absorption et au transport du zinc, ainsi que la tolérance et sa caractérisation sont aussi discutées dans ce papier. Les effets cytotoxiques du zinc sur les plantes sont maintenant élucidés. La modification majeure concerne le noyau des cellules de l'extrémité des racines. La chromatine est fortement condensée et certaines des cellules corticales montrent la rupture et la dilatation de leur membrane nucléaire en présence de 7.5 mM de zinc. De plus, le cytoplasme perd sa structure, la désintégration d'organites et le développement de vacuoles sont aussi observés. Enfin, le nombre de nucléoles augmente en réponse au zinc. Ils résultent de la synthèse d'une nouvelle protéine impliquée dans la tolérance aux métaux lourds. Cette synthèse bibliographique pourra aider les études interdisciplinaires à évaluer les conséquences écologiques des stress dus aux métaux.

Key words: phytotoxicity / tolerance / transport / uptake / accumulation / zinc

Mots clés : phytotoxicité / tolérance / transport / absorption / accumulation / zinc

Correspondence and reprints: Gyana Ranjan Rout

Communicated by Gérard Guyot (Avignon, France)

© INRA, EDP Sciences 2003

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