Screening of poplar clones for cadmium phytoremediation using photosynthesis, biomass and cadmium content analyses

Fabrizio Pietrini, Massimo Zacchini, Valentina Iori, Lucia Pietrosanti, Daniele Bianconi, Angelo Massacci
International Journal of Phytoremediation 2010, 12 (1): 105-20
Variability of cadmium tolerance and distribution in plant organs was investigated in ten selected poplar clones from different species, hybrids and genotypes. To this end, plants were exposed for three weeks to 50 microM CdSO4 in hydroponics. Cadmium accumulation in roots, stem and leaves as well as biomass production and photosynthesis maintenance varied greatly among clones. The metal mostly accumulated in roots, up to 80% in some clones, and interestingly, only 50% in some others. In general, metal tolerance reflected the degree of photosynthesis inhibition, which was higher in clones with high cadmium accumulation in leaves. Biomass production, net photosynthesis, transpiration, and pigment content were differently reduced in cadmium-treated clones with respect to control. The variability of cadmium distribution among leaves, stem, and roots provides candidate poplars for specific phytoremediation processes of contaminated waters and soils.

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