Nutritional and biochemical changes induced by lead in sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.)

Claudia Brito de Abreu, Bárbara Lima do Sacramento, Andréia Teixeira Alves, Silvany Cardim Moura, Milena Santos Pinelli, André Dias de Azevedo Neto


The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of increasing concentrations of lead (Pb) in the nutrient solution on growth and macronutrient and organic solute contents of Helianthus annuus plants. The experimental design was completely randomized with four replications. The dry mass yield was not affected by the treatments up to a Pb concentration of 0.6 mM, indicating that H. annuus was tolerant to this Pb concentration in the growth medium. The reductions in leaf, stem and root dry masses at a Pb concentration of 0.8 mM were 74, 84 and 85%, respectively. Lead stress did not reduce the levels of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K), indicating that the growth reduction observed at 0.8 mM Pb could not be attributed to deficiencies of these nutrients. On the other hand, Pb significantly reduced calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) contents in leaves, stems and roots, which might, at least in part, explain the Pb-induced growth reduction in the H. annuus plants. Pb increased soluble carbohydrate, free amino acid and proline contents in leaves, and soluble protein and proline contents in roots, showing stress-induced changes in cell metabolism. The data also suggest that Ca and Mg concentrations may be used as nutritional indicators and the proline content may be used as a biochemical indicator of Pb toxicity in H. annuus.


Lead; Helianthus annuus; Mineral nutrition; Heavy metal; Organic solutes.

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Semina: Ciênc. Agrár.
Londrina - PR
E-ISSN 1679-0359
DOI: 10.5433 / 1679-0359
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