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Chemosphere. 2005 May;59(8):1099-104.

The effect of temperature on the rate of cyanide metabolism of two woody plants.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Science, Hunan Agricultural University, Changsha 410128, Hunan, PR China.


The response of cyanide metabolism rates of two woody plants to changes in temperature is investigated. Detached leaves (1.0 g fresh weight) from weeping willow (Salix babylonica L.) and Chinese elder (Sambucus chinensis Lindl.) were kept in glass vessels with 100ml of aqueous solution spiked with potassium cyanide for a maximum of 28 h. Ten different temperatures were used ranging from 11 degrees C to 32 degrees C. The disappearance of aqueous cyanide was analyzed spectrophotometrically. The cyanide removal rate of Chinese elder was higher than that of weeping willow at all temperatures. The highest cyanide removal rate for Chinese elder was found at 30 degrees C with a value of 12.6 mg CN kg(-1) h(-1), whereas the highest value of the weeping willow was 9.72 mg CN kg(-1) h(-1) at 32 degrees C. The temperature coefficient values, Q10, which are the ratio of removal rates at a 10 degree difference, were determined for Chinese elder and weeping willow to 1.84 and 2.09, respectively, indicating that the cyanide removal rate of weeping willow was much more susceptible to changes in temperature than that of the Chinese elder. In conclusion, changes in temperature have a substantial influence on the removal rate of cyanide by plants.

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