Indian mustard (Brassica juncea L.), a high biomass crop plant, accumulated substantial amounts of cadmium, with bioaccumulation coefficients (concentration of Cd in dry plant tissue/concentration in solution) of up to 1100 in shoots and 6700 in roots at nonphytotoxic concentrations of Cd (0.1 (mu)g/mL) in solution. This was associated with a rapid accumulation of phytochelatins in the root, where the majority of the Cd was coordinated with sulfur ligands, probably as a Cd-S4 complex, as demonstrated by x-ray absorption spectroscopy. In contrast, Cd moving in the xylem sap was coordinated predominantly with oxygen or nitrogen ligands. Cd concentrations in the xylem sap and the rate of Cd accumulation in the leaves displayed similar saturation kinetics, suggesting that the process of Cd transport from solution through the root and into the xylem is mediated by a saturable transport system(s). However, Cd translocation to the shoot appeared to be driven by transpiration, since ABA dramatically reduced Cd accumulation in leaves. Within leaves, Cd was preferentially accumulated in trichomes on the leaf surface, and this may be a possible detoxification mechanism.
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