Indexed on: 20 Feb '09Published on: 20 Feb '09Published in: Biologia
In this study, the effects of cadmium chloride (CdCl2) on plant growth, histology of roots, photosynthetic pigments content, δ-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase (ALA-D; E.C. 220.127.116.11) and acid phosphatase activities (AP; E.C. 18.104.22.168), soluble phosphorus (Pi) measurement and mineral nutrients content in cucumber seedlings (Cucumis sativus L.) were investigated. Cucumber seedlings were grown in vitro in an agar-solidified substrate containing four CdCl2 treatments (0, 100, 400, and 1000 μM) for ten days. Cd was readily absorbed by seedlings and its content was greater in the roots than in the shoot. Cd reduced shoot and root length, and fresh and dry biomass of seedlings. Inhibition of root cell elongation in Cd-treated seedlings was observed by the increase of the mean radial size of cells belonging to three zones of the root tip. The highest level of Cd reduced in a similar manner chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b and total chlorophyll contents. Increasing concentrations of Cd resulted in a linear decrease in carotenoids levels of cotyledons. Interestingly, the ALA-D activity in cotyledons was inhibited only at the highest level of Cd. Root and shoot AP activities were, respectively, activated and inhibited at all CdCl2 concentrations. Root Pi concentration was increased in all Cd treatments and it was not altered in the shoot tissues. Moreover, in general, the nutrient contents were increased in the root and decreased in the shoot. Therefore, we suggest that Cd affects negatively growth, photosynthetic pigments, ALA-D and AP activities and partition of mineral nutrients in cucumber seedlings.