The effects of Pb, Sr, and Ni nitrates on the root growth, its cell division and elongation were studied. Two-day-old maize seedlings were incubated on the 35 μM Ni(NO3)2, 10 μM Pb(NO3)2, or 3 mM Sr(NO3)2 in the presence or absence of 3 mM Ca(NO3)2. Metal toxicity was evaluated after the inhibition of root growth for the first and second days of incubation in comparison with the roots kept on water or Ca(NO3)2 solution. The contents of metals were determined in the apical (the first centimeter from the tip) and basal (the third centimeter from the kernel) root parts by voltamperometry and atomic-absorption spectrophotometry. We measured the length of the meristem, the length of the fully elongated cells, counted the mitotic index (MI) in the meristem and the number of meristematic cells in the cortex row; we also calculated duration the cell cycle. In the absence of Ca(NO3)2, the metal content in the apical root region was higher than in basal one. In the presence of Ca(NO3)2, we observed reverse ratio most pronounced in the case of Pb and Sr. All metals tested markedly reduced MI in the cortex, which was determined by the increase in the cell cycle duration and accompanied by the meristem shortening. These metals affected differently cell division and elongation: Ni inhibited mainly cell division and to a lesser degree their elongation, whereas Sr and Pb affected both cell division and elongation; only Sr treatment resulted in the increased length of the fully elongated cells. In the presence of Ca, all studied growth indices changed less than in the absence of Ca, which was manifested in the less severe suppression of the root growth and was in agreement with the lower accumulation of the metals in the root tips. Possible causes for the heavy metal action on growth are discussed in connection with the specificity of their transport and accumulation.
Russian Journal of Plant Physiology – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 31, 2009
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