ISSN 10214437, Russian Journal of Plant Physiology, 2011, Vol. 58, No. 5, pp. 871–878. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2011.
Original Russian Text © Yu.V. Ivanov, Yu.V. Savochkin, Vl.V. Kuznetsov, 2011, published in Fiziologiya Rastenii, 2011, Vol. 58, No. 5, pp. 728–736.
The development of resourceconsuming industry
sectors in the 20th century resulted in a rapid increase
in zinc mining, which is a most demanded metal after
iron, aluminum, and copper . Indeed, world vol
ume of zinc mining increased from 0.51 million tons in
1901 to 12 million tons in 2010. The total volume of
this metal mining comprised 327 million tons for the
entire 20th century vs. 100 million tons only for the
first decade of the 21st century .
Such a rapid growth in zinc mining is accompanied
by its increased emission into environment. Along
with natural emission comprising 45000 tons per year,
zinc ejection by industrial plants attained 1.62 million
tons per year during the last quarter of the century .
The result is an intense pollution of soil and water
basins on territories immediately adjusting to the dis
tricts of zinc mining and processing and far outside
these districts . Since zinc is actively absorbed by
plants (up to 5160 thousand tons/year) , an increase
in its technogenic emission into environment makes it
one of the most dangerous pollutants of the biota.
Among heavy metals, zinc unique feature is its func
tioning as a cofactor of all enzyme classes [5, 6].
Therefore, a disturbance in the intracellular zinc
homeostasis results in the serious damage to plant
metabolism and physiological functions.
The effects of elevated zinc concentrations were
studied on several crops (rice, wheat, cotton, sugar
cane, and tomato) and some wild plants [1, 7, 8].
These works permitted a distinguishing of species sen
sitive to zinc (
and relatively tolerant ones (
). Some popula
tions of plants inhabiting the sites of natural geochem
ical anomalies, which are tolerant to very high zinc
concentrations in soil, are of especial interest. They
are socalled hyperaccumulators, the members of gen
L. . The
L.  and
 as model plants contributed much in the
understanding of the mechanisms of plant tolerance to
zinc. In spite of a substantial progress attained in this
field, the mechanisms for the maintenance of zinc
homeostasis in plants remain poorly studied .
In spite of the fact that 47% of territory in Russia
are occupied by forest ecosystems, the mechanisms of
Scots Pine as a Model Plant for Studying the Mechanisms
of Conifers Adaptation to Heavy Metal Action: 1.
Effects of Continuous Zinc Presence on Morphometric
and Physiological Characteristics of Developing Pine Seedlings
Yu. V. Ivanov, Yu. V. Savochkin, and Vl. V. Kuznetsov
Timiryazev Institute of Plant Physiology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Botanicheskaya ul. 35, Moscow, 127276 Russia;
fax: 7 (499) 9778018; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Received March 3, 2011
—Effects of zinc (50–150
) on seed germinability, morphometric and physiological char
acteristics of Scots pine (
L.) seedlings during first 6 weeks of their development were studied.
Scots pine turned out to be rather sensitive to elevated zinc concentrations. This was manifested in reduced
seed germinability, root system growth retardation and suppression of its development (primarily, reduction
in the size of the zone of secondary root formation, their number, and total length), a disturbance in the
dynamics of biomass accumulation by various organs, primarily true needles, and also the content of main
photosynthetic pigments. A specificity of zinc accumulation in seedling organs was established; it depended
on the degree of root system development. A competition between cotyledons and needles for essential ele
ments was observed. It was concluded that Scots pine high sensitivity to relatively low zinc concentrations
M) makes it a more convenient model than currently used model plants (
L., and others) for studying physiological and molecular
mechanisms of conifers adaptation to heavy metals and also for predictions of possible ecological conse
quences of environment pollution with zinc for tree phytocenoses.
Keywords: Pinus sylvestris
, zinc, seed quality, seedlings, growth inhibition, chlorophyll, carotenoids.