30th Annual SSRL Users' Meeting — October 9-10, 2003

Cadmium Uptake and Translocation in Tumbleweed (Salsola kali), a Potential Cd-Hyperaccumulator Desert Plant Species: ICP/OES and XAS Studies

G. de la Rosa,1 J. R. Peralta-Videa,1 M. Montes,2 J. G. Parsons,1 and
J. L. Gardea-Torresdey1,2

1Environmental Science and Engineering Ph.D. Program, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 W. University Ave., El Paso, TX 79968
2Chemistry Department, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 W. University Ave., El Paso, TX 79968 79968

Cadmium is a heavy metal, which, even in low concentrations, can be highly toxic to the growth and development of both plants and animals. Plant species vary extensively in their tolerance to excess cadmium in a growth medium and very few cadmium-tolerant species have been identified. In this study, tumbleweed plants (Salsola kali) grown in an agar-based medium with 20 mg l-1 of Cd(II) did not show phytotoxicity, and their roots had the most biomass (4.5 mg) (P<0.05) compared to the control plants (2.7 mg) as well as other treated plants. These plants accumulated 2,696, 2,075, and 2,016 mg of Cd per kg of dry roots, stems, and leaves, respectively. The results suggest that there is no restricted cadmium movement in tumbleweed plants. In addition, the amount of Cd found in the dry leaf tissue suggests that tumbleweed could be considered as potential cadmium hyperaccumulating species. X-ray absorption spectroscopy studies demonstrated that in roots, Cd was bound to oxygen while in stems and leaves the metal was attached to oxygen and sulfur groups. This might imply that some small organic acids are responsible for Cd transport from roots to stems and leaves. In addition, it might be possible that the plant synthesizes phytochelatins in the stems, later coordinating the absorbed cadmium for transport and storage in cell structures. Thus, it is possible that in the leaves, Cd either exists as a Cd-phytochelatin complex or bound to cell wall structures. Current studies are being performed in order to elucidate the proposed hypothesis.