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Plant Physiol. 2000 Nov;124(3):1019-26.

Identification of rice varieties with high tolerance or sensitivity to lead and characterization of the mechanism of tolerance.

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  • 1Department of Life Science, Pohang University of Science and Technology, Pohang, 790-784 Korea.


Pb inhibits plant growth. To study Pb tolerance in rice (Oryza sativa), we screened 229 varieties for Pb tolerance or sensitivity. Three-day-old seedlings were treated for 12 d with 20 microM Pb solution. Based on the dry weight of the root, three Pb-tolerant (var CH-55, var KH-2J, var Kumnung) and three Pb-sensitive (var Aixueru, var C-9491, var Milyang23) rice varieties were selected. The root biomasses of the tolerant varieties were approximately 10-fold higher than those of the sensitive ones. The greatest morphological difference between the two groups was in the growth of the adventitious roots, as tolerant lines were able to develop adventitious roots after 6 d of Pb treatment, whereas sensitive ones did not develop any even after 15 d. The growth of adventitious roots in the tolerant varieties was dependent on a mechanism, whereby Pb was altered to a form that cannot be taken up by the tissue, because (a) the solution in which the tolerant varieties of rice had grown still contained Pb but nevertheless did not affect the root growth of new rice seedlings, and (b) the adventitious roots of tolerant seedlings developed in Pb solution contained little Pb. The oxalate content in the root and root exudate increased upon Pb treatment in the tolerant varieties, whereas the opposite was observed for the sensitive ones. Oxalate added to the growth solution ameliorated the inhibition of root growth by Pb. These results suggest that compounds such as oxalate secreted from the root may reduce the bio-availability of Pb, and that this may constitute an important Pb tolerance mechanism in the tolerant rice varieties studied here.

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