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Environ Int. 2005 Jul;31(5):739-53. Epub 2005 Mar 24.

Chromium toxicity in plants.

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Department of Crop Physiology, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore, India.


Due to its wide industrial use, chromium is considered a serious environmental pollutant. Contamination of soil and water by chromium (Cr) is of recent concern. Toxicity of Cr to plants depends on its valence state: Cr(VI) is highly toxic and mobile whereas Cr(III) is less toxic. Since plants lack a specific transport system for Cr, it is taken up by carriers of essential ions such as sulfate or iron. Toxic effects of Cr on plant growth and development include alterations in the germination process as well as in the growth of roots, stems and leaves, which may affect total dry matter production and yield. Cr also causes deleterious effects on plant physiological processes such as photosynthesis, water relations and mineral nutrition. Metabolic alterations by Cr exposure have also been described in plants either by a direct effect on enzymes or other metabolites or by its ability to generate reactive oxygen species which may cause oxidative stress. The potential of plants with the capacity to accumulate or to stabilize Cr compounds for bioremediation of Cr contamination has gained interest in recent years.

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