Plant Pathol J > Volume 28(4); 2012 > Article
The Plant Pathology Journal 2012;28(4):446-452.
DOI:    Published online December 31, 2012.
Effects of Heavy Metals on Plant Growths and Pigment Contents in Arabidopsis thaliana
Seung A Baek, Taejun Han, Soon Kil Ahn, Hara Kang, Myung Rae Cho, Suk Chan Lee, Kyung Hoan Im
The effect of heavy metals on seedling growth and pigment levels was studied in Arabidopsis using essential (Cu, Mn, and Zn) and non-essential metals (Pb and Hg). Generally increasing the concentrations of the metals resulted in a gradual decrease in root and shoot lengths, a decrease in chlorophylls, an increase in anthocyanins and a fluctuation in carotenoid content depending on the metal types. The toxicity of the metals decreased in the following order: Cu > Hg > Pb > Zn > Mn. Among the five metals, Cu was exceptionally toxic and the most potent inducer of anthocyanins. Pb induced the smallest quantity of anthocyanins but it was the strongest inducer of carotenoids. It suggests that the Cu-stressed Arabidopsis may use anthocyanins as its main antioxidants while the Pb-stressed Arabidopsis use carotenoids as its main protectants. All of the five metals induced an accumulation of anthocyanins. The consistent increase in anthocyanin content in the metal-stressed Arabidpsis indicates that anthocyanins play a major role in the protection against metal stresses.
Key Words: anthocyanins, Arabidopsis, carotenoids, heavy metals, pigment

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