Influence of silicon on arsenic uptake and toxicity in lettuce
Lettuce grown in soil is found to contain high concentrations of arsenic (As). This paper investigates the uptake and speciation of As in lettuce as well as the influenceof silicon (Si) on As uptake, since Si may decrease it. Lettuce plants were cultivated in nutrient solution containing arsenite or arsenate with or without silicate. The uptake and distribution of As between roots and shoots, As accumulation in cell walls, As speciation, and toxic effects on growth were analysed. Results indicate that arsenite was more toxic to lettuce than was arsenate. Silicate decreased arsenate toxicity but had little effect on arsenite toxicity. In contrast, Si decreased arsenite uptake more than arsenate uptake. The concentration of arsenate was higher than that of arsenite in the plants independent of the As species added. When arsenate was added, the As concentration in shoots was half of that in the roots and this distribution did not change with Si addition. When arsenite was added, approximately 10% of As was found in the shoots and 90% in the roots; this pattern changed in the presence of Si, and As became evenly distributed in the plant. In both roots and shoots, approximately 40% of the As was found in the cell wall fraction; when arsenite was added, the presence of Si increased this fraction to 47%, but only in the shoots. The extraction efficiency when analysing the As species was lower in shoots than in roots, especially in the presence of arsenite and Si. The opposite was found for As concentration in pellets after extraction. This indicated variation in the binding strength of arsenite and arsenate between roots and shoots and between Si- and non-Si-treated plants.
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