Agricultural contamination: Effect of copper excess on physiological parameters of potato genotypes and food chain security

  • Júlia Gomes Farias Universidade Federal de Santa Maria
  • Sibila T. Nunes
  • Darlene Sausen
  • Matheus A.G. Nunes
  • Franciele A. Neis
  • Leonardo C. Garlet
  • Pedro A.A. Nunes
  • Valderi L. Dressler
  • Maria R.C. Schetinger
  • Liana V. Rossato
  • Eduardo Girotto
  • Gustavo Brunetto
  • Fernando T. Nicoloso


Areas with a history of cupric fungicide application accumulate copper (Cu), which may be toxic to plants and might result in food chain contamination. This work aimed to study the effects of Cu contaminated vineyard soils (2.2, 5, 36.3, 67, 95.7, 270.5 and 320.70 mg Cu kg-1 soil) on potato physiology and it´s potential risk to human health, during the fall and spring growing seasons. The increase of Cu concentration in leaves was dependent on external Cu concentrations and development stage of the leaves. There were genotypic differences for both growth and biochemical parameters including high accumulation of Cu in tubers among the genotypes. Therefore, Cu stress triggered a defense mechanism against oxidative stress in potato plants; and the magnitude of Cu stress was depended on the genotype and the plant physiological status. In addition, these results provide evidence that potato antioxidants are not sufficient to prevent biological damage caused by Cu toxicity, and that popato cultivation in areas with high Cu levels is not recommended due to low production and potential risk to human health.