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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Assessment of comparative toxicities of lead and copper using plant assay.

The acute toxicities of lead (Pb) and copper (Cu) to important crop plants Sorghum bicolor, Cucumis sativus, Triticum aestivum, and Zea mays were compared. The EC50 values (the concentration of metals in the soil that reduces the growth of shoots and roots by 50%) were derived using the Trimmed Spearman-Karber method. The EC50s-shoot (root) in mg Pb kg-1 dry soil and mg Cu kg-1 dry soil were in the range of 519 to >1280 (285-445), and 48-232 (<40-110), respectively. Those concentrations are likely to occur in some abandoned mine areas in Korea. The figures indicate that Cu is more toxic than Pb to the plants in this study, and that root growth is more sensitive to the toxicity endpoint than shoot growth in Cu- or Pb-amended soils. On the other hand, seed germination is insensitive to both Pb and Cu toxicities. The Pb- and Cu-sensitive plants were also identified. Among the plants tested, T. aestivum and S. bicolor were most sensitive to Pb and Cu, respectively. Z. mays was most resistant to both Pb and Cu. The combined effects of Pb and Cu depend on the plant species, and no general phenomenon was observed. Bioaccumulations of Pb and Cu were observed in all test species, and they are concentration-dependent. These differences in the toxicities of Pb and Cu in plant species should be taken into account in biomonitoring and ecological risk assessment.[1]


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