1 Introduction</h5> Among the major environmental pollutants, cadmium (Cd) is one of the most phytotoxic heavy metals. It is released into air, water and soil through human agricultural, industrial or urban activities; notably, the high values of Cd observed in many agricultural fields are due to long-term uses of phosphate fertilizers, sewage sludge applications and waste water irrigation ( He et al., 2009 ; Uraguchi and Fujiwara, 2012 ). This non-essential element is highly mobile in the soil–plant system which allows its easy entry into vegetables and can impair several vital processes, result in poor growth and low economic yield of plants, and cause toxic effects on human health through the food chain ( Sanita di Toppi and Gabbrielli, 1999; Ekmekci et al., 2008; Shamsi et al., 2008 ). Cd-induced phytotoxicity or plant tolerant response is a complex phenomenon involving developmental changes as well as physiological and biochemical mechanisms ( Sanita di Toppi and Gabbrielli, 1999; Sharma and Dietz, 2009 ). To counteract the toxicity of Cd, plants have developed various strategies for exudation of organic acid, retention of Cd in roots and immobilization in the cell wall ( He et al., 2009 ). In addition, studies on
Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety – Elsevier
Published: Oct 1, 2014
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