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Biocell. 2009 Apr;33(1):25-32.

Cytogenetical and ultrastructural effects of copper on root meristem cells of Allium sativum L.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Tianjin Normal University, Tianjin 300387, P.R. China.


Different copper concentrations, as well as different exposure times, were applied to investigate both cytogenetical and ultrastructural alterations in garlic (Allium sativum L.) meristem cells. Results showed that the mitotic index decreased progressively when either copper concentration or exposure time increased. C-mitosis, anaphase bridges, chromosome stickiness and broken nuclei were observed in the copper treated root tip cells. Some particulates containing the argyrophilic NOR-associated proteins were distributed in the nucleus of the root-tip cells and the amount of this particulate material progressively increased with increasing exposure time. Finally, the nucleolar material was extruded from the nucleus into the cytoplasm. Also, increased dictyosome vesicles in number, formation of cytoplasmic vesicles containing electron dense granules, altered mitochondrial shape, disruption of nuclear membranes, condensation of chromatin material, disintegration of organelles were observed. The mechanisms of detoxification and tolerance of copper are briefly discussed.

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