Reducing Heavy Metal Toxicity in Radishes with Natural Compounds and Biochar

Jim Crocker
14th June, 2024

Reducing Heavy Metal Toxicity in Radishes with Natural Compounds and Biochar

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers from the University College of Dera Murad Jamali found that combining strigolactones (SLs) and acidified biochar (AB) significantly improved radish growth in cadmium (Cd)-contaminated soil
  • The combined treatment of 25 µM strigolactone and 0.75% AB increased shoot length by 17%, root length by 47%, plant fresh weight by 28%, plant dry weight by 96%, and total chlorophyll by 37%
  • The combination of SLs and AB was more effective in reducing oxidative stress and antioxidant activities caused by Cd toxicity than either treatment alone, suggesting a synergistic effect
Cadmium (Cd) contamination in soil is a significant environmental issue that poses a threat to both human health and plant growth. Cd is highly soluble in water, making it easily absorbed by plants, leading to oxidative stress and the generation of harmful reactive oxygen species (ROS). A recent study conducted by researchers from the University College of Dera Murad Jamali, LUAWMS, has explored the potential of combining strigolactones (SLs), a natural plant hormone, with acidified biochar (AB) to mitigate the harmful effects of Cd toxicity on radish growth[1]. The study evaluated the individual and combined effects of SLs and AB on radish plants grown in Cd-contaminated soil. Using a completely randomized design, the researchers applied different treatments: 0 and 25 µM strigolactone, and 0 and 0.75% AB, in soils contaminated with 0 and 20 mg Cd/kg. Each treatment was administered in four replicates. The results demonstrated that the combined treatment of 25 µM strigolactone and 0.75% AB significantly enhanced radish growth compared to the control under 20 mg Cd/kg soil contamination. Specifically, this combination improved shoot length by approximately 17%, root length by 47%, plant fresh weight by 28%, plant dry weight by 96%, chlorophyll a by 43%, chlorophyll b by 31%, and total chlorophyll by 37%. These findings align with previous studies on the role of biochar and plant hormones in alleviating stress in plants. For instance, a study on wheat plants showed that GA3-enriched biochar significantly improved growth parameters under Cd and drought stress[2]. Similarly, another study highlighted the role of strigolactones in enhancing antioxidant activity and reducing oxidative damage in cucumber plants under salt stress[3]. The current study extends these findings by demonstrating that the combination of SLs and AB can effectively mitigate Cd toxicity in radish plants. The mechanism behind this improvement involves the regulation of antioxidant activities. Cd toxicity typically induces oxidative stress by generating ROS, which can damage cellular structures. The study found that 0.75% AB was more effective in decreasing antioxidant activities than 25 µM strigolactone under Cd toxicity. However, the combined application of 25 µM strigolactone and 0.75% AB was even more effective in reducing antioxidant activities than either treatment alone. This suggests a synergistic effect between SLs and AB in mitigating oxidative stress caused by Cd. Strigolactones have been shown to regulate various physiological processes in plants, including shoot branching, mycorrhizal symbiosis, and stress responses[4]. In the context of Cd toxicity, SLs likely enhance the plant's antioxidant defense system, reducing ROS levels and minimizing cellular damage. Acidified biochar, on the other hand, helps by adsorbing Cd ions and buffering soil pH, thereby reducing the bioavailability of Cd and its uptake by plants. In conclusion, the study by the University College of Dera Murad Jamali, LUAWMS, provides compelling evidence that the combined application of strigolactones and acidified biochar can significantly improve radish growth in Cd-contaminated soils by regulating antioxidant activities and reducing oxidative stress. These findings offer a promising strategy for mitigating Cd toxicity in agricultural practices, potentially leading to safer and more sustainable crop production. Further research at the field level on different crops and soil textures is recommended to validate these results and optimize the application of SLs and AB for broader agricultural use.

VegetablesEnvironmentPlant Science


Main Study

1) Minimization of heavy metal toxicity in radish (Raphanus sativus) by strigolactone and biochar.

Published 13th June, 2024

Related Studies

2) Alleviation of cadmium and drought stress in wheat by improving growth and chlorophyll contents amended with GA3 enriched deashed biochar.

3) Strigolactone Alleviates the Adverse Effects of Salt Stress on Seed Germination in Cucumber by Enhancing Antioxidant Capacity.

4) Strigolactone inhibition of shoot branching.

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