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Polluted land can be planted with flowers and tobacco

Polluted land can be planted with flowers and tobacco

Co-author of the study Anastasia Tugbaeva in the laboratory “Biotechnologies for the maintenance and restoration of components of natural and transformed biosystems” of UrFU. Credit: UrFU/Anastasia Mavrenkova

Zinnia (popular ornamental flowers) and tobacco adapt to copper in the soil. They accumulate heavy metals in the roots and limit the transport of copper to the above-ground parts of the plant: stem, leaves and beyond. At the same time, these plants not only survive in difficult conditions, but also grow better. This feature was revealed by scientists from Ural Federal University (UrFU). They conducted experiments, the results of which are published in the journal Horticulture

“Plants of the Asteraceae and nightshade families, namely zinnia and tobacco, are exclusive to copper; their root systems perform the function of copper accumulation,” said Anastasia Tugbaeva, junior researcher at the lab. “Biotechnologies for the preservation and restoration of components of natural and transformed biosystems” at UrFU. “Using Zinnia as an example, we have shown for the first time that it can grow in copper-contaminated soils and flower even faster than in pure soil. That is, it can be used for landscaping; it will grow well. Tobacco, an important agricultural crop and useful fertilizer, also adapted to long-term exposure to copper in our experiments and grew similar to control plants, despite the high copper content in the substrate.”

The experiments were conducted under conditions that were almost real. Scientists have simulated the conditions of humidity and temperature, the effect of different concentrations of copper sulfate on plant growth, and tested a number of physiological and biochemical characteristics.

Polluted land can be planted with flowers and tobacco

Next, scientists plan to study zinnia gene transcriptomes under other stressful conditions. Credit: UrFU/Anastasia Mavrenkova

“We conducted experiments for 20, 40, 60 days and used substrates in which the copper content could be even higher than the content in urban soils,” says Anastasia Tugbaeva. “Under the influence of copper in the root and stem of plants, the expression of five genes responsible for the synthesis of phenolic compounds and lignin is enhanced. Lignin is one of the components of the plant cell wall, which makes it stronger. lignin, that is the mechanism of plant adaptation, which limits the transfer of metals from the cell wall and the effects of metals on the intracellular structure of the plant.”

The Urals, large cities, are characterized by a high copper content in the soil. Contaminated soil is a hazard not only from the point of view of toxic substances entering the human body with food, it is also a source of secondary pollution of the surface air layer. The presence of heavy metals in the soil leads to alienation of agricultural land, decrease in crop yields and plant productivity; that is why a lot of attention is paid to observations of urban soil pollution.

Copper explodes seed pods

More information:
Anastasia Tugbaeva et al, Copper stress enhances lignification of axial organs in Zinnia elegans, Horticulture (2022). DOI: 10.3390/horticulturae8060558

Provided by Ural Federal University

Quote: Polluted land can be planted with flowers and tobacco (2022, June 23) retrieved June 23, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-06-polluted-tobacco.html

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