The frequency and duration of tidal flooding significantly influence the bioavailability of heavy metals (HMs) in sediment and hence exert toxicological effects on coastal wetland plants. In this study, the combined effects of different water inundation times (3, 6, 9, and 12 h) and HMs (Cu, Zn, Pb, and Cr) on the photosynthesis and physiology of Spartina alterniflora were investigated under greenhouse conditions. Results showed that S. alterniflora was somehow tolerant to the combined HMs treatments, and only the highest level of HM treatment decreased leaf chlorophyll content. Furthermore, the plants did not show any signs of victimization. Different times of water inundation with HMs did not exert any significant effect on the malonaldehyde (MDA) and chlorophyll contents in the leaves of S. alterniflora at day 20. Prolonged water inundation time at day 60 significantly reduced leaf chlorophyll content with the decrease in leaf photosynthetic rate, which was accompanied by a significant increase in the intercellular concentration of CO2. At day 60, abscisic acid dose-dependently increased along the different water inundation times, indicating that this phytohormone is involved in plant responses to flooding stress. Peroxidase (POD), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and ascorbate peroxidase (APX), showed different responses to the combined treatment of water inundation and HMs at different times. At day 20, the long duration of water inundation and HMs treatments (9 h+HMs and/or 12 h+HMs) significantly increased enzyme activity in the leaves compared with the control group (6 h). At day 60, the POD and SOD activities in the leaves of S. alterniflora decreased with prolonged water inundation time, and root APX activity significantly decreased compared with the 6 h water inundation treatment.
Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety – Elsevier
Published: May 30, 2018
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