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Study of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) response to selenium application under cadmium stress  [2019]

Atarodi, basir Fotovat, Amir Khorassani, Reza Keshavarz, Payman

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Introduction Agricultural soils in Iran, as in many other countries, are slightly to moderately contaminated by cadmium. According to some published reports, the average content of cadmium in some agricultural products and soils of Iran was found to be above the FAO/WHO guidelines. Abiotic stresses including cadmium stress can lead to overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) causing progressive oxidative damage and ultimately cell death. In order to reduce cadmium-induced toxicity and alleviate some adverse effects of this metal on plants, a number of strategies including phytoremediation have been developed. Meanwhile, it was found that application of some elements such as calcium could diminish adverse effects of heavy metals in plants. In addition to calcium, selenium due to its potential in mitigation of cadmium toxicity has gained increased attention in recent decades. Selenium, as an antioxidant, plays an important role in the maintenance of human health, and on the other hand, many soils and, consequently, the crops produced in them suffer from the deficiency of this element. Although some studies have reported protective roles of selenium in plants subjected to cadmium stress, due to the limited reports on the effects of selenium on wheat exposed to cadmium stress particularly under Iranian soils conditions, the present study was conducted. Materials and methods In winter 2015, a pot experiment was carried out based on a completely randomize
d design in factorial arrangement with three replications for each treatment at research greenhouse of agriculture faculty of Ferdowsi university of Mashhad, Iran. The site is situated at 36°2′ North latitude, 59°4′ East longitude at an altitude of 999.2 m above mean sea level. The experiment included four levels of selenium (0, 0.5, 1, and 4 mg kg -1 soil, in the form of sodium selenite) and three levels of cadmium (0, 5, 15 mg kg -1 soil, in the form of cadmium nitrate). Soil weighing 6 kg was put into polyethylene pots, irrigated with distilled water to field capacity each three days and left over for 45 days to attain equilibrium. Eight seeds of wheat (Triticum aestivum L. cv. Falat) were sown per pot and thinned to four plants after the seedlings of wheat were well established. Sixty days after germination, newly expanded leaf samples from each pot were taken for determination of leaf pigments, proline and enzyme activity. Meanwhile, shoots from each pot were harvested from 1 cm above the soil and rinsed four times (twice with distilled water, once with 20 mM EDTA and again once with distilled water). The samples were wiped with paper and oven-dried at 50 °C for one week. Finally, dry weight of the shoots was measured. Results and discussion Cadmium stress, selenium application, and their interactions had a significant effect on photosynthetic pigments concentration, proline content, catalase activity and shoot dry weight. Results showed that as cadmium concentration in soil increased, chlorophyll a, b concentration, carotenoids content, catalase activity and shoot dry weight decreased. In contrast, the accumulation of proline in the plants was stimulated after the cadmium treatment, by 25 % in the presence of the highest cadmium level, as compared to the lowest cadmium level. Selenium application exerted its positive influence on some physiological parameters in plants exposed to cadmium stress. Chlorophyll b concentration and enzyme activity were higher in plants treated simultaneously with selenium and cadmium as compared with plants treated solely with cadmium. However, selenium did not show positive effect on chlorophyll a concentration, carotenoid content and shoot dry weight in plants grown under cadmium stress. Meanwhile, selenium at high concentration had no beneficial effect on wheat but also led to a significant decrease in photosynthetic pigments content, enzyme activity and shoot dry weight. Conclusions The results of the present study revealed that cadmium stress negatively affected physiological parameters of wheat and decreased photosynthetic pigments concentration, catalase activity and shoot dry weight. In contrast, selenium supplementation at low concentration could improve partially some physiological responses in wheat under cadmium stress.