Flow cytometric assessment of Cd genotoxicity in three plants with different metal accumulation and detoxification capacities

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Journal Article
Ecotoxicology And Environmental Safety, 2010, 73 (6), pp. 1231 - 1237
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Cadmium (Cd) is a widespread environmental contaminant, strongly mutagenic and known to cause DNA damage in plants. In this work, flow cytometry (FCM) was applied to determine if in vivo exposure to Cd would induce genotoxic effects at the genome level. The hyper-accumulator Thlaspi caerulescens (J. & C. Presl), the related non-accumulator Thlaspi arvense L. and the accumulator crop species Lactuca sativa L. were germinated in distilled water and grown in modified Hoaglands medium with increasing concentrations of Cd(NO3)2 (0, 1, 10 and 100 mM). After 28 days of exposure, shoot and root growth was recorded and the tissues were harvested for Cd and FCM analysis. In general, roots from treated plants contained higher content of Cd than leaves and growth inhibition was observed in the treated plants. Nuclear DNA content was estimated and the G0/G1 full peak coefficient of variation (FPCV), as an indicator of clastogenic damage, was recorded. In T. arvense and T. caerulescens no significant differences were detected between control and exposed plants. Leaves of L. sativa exposed to 10 mM Cd presented a statistically significant increase in FPCV values in comparison with the control group. Furthermore, roots exposed to 100 mM Cd presented a reduction in nuclear DNA content and an increase in FPCV when compared to the control. FCM data indicates that no major DNA damage was induced on both Cd-exposed Thlaspi species and L. sativa leaves. On the contrary, results obtained with L. sativa roots suggests clastogenic damage in these organs exposed to 100 mM of Cd.
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