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Ecotoxicology. 2011 Nov;20(8):1992-2002. doi: 10.1007/s10646-011-0741-y. Epub 2011 Jul 14.

Uptake and partitioning of zinc in Lemnaceae.

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School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland.


Macrophytes provide food and shelter for aquatic invertebrates and fish, while also acting as reservoirs for nutrients and trace elements. Zinc accumulation has been reported for various Lemnaceae species. However, comparative accumulation across species and the link between zinc accumulation and toxicity are poorly understood. Morphological distribution and cellular storage, in either bound or soluble form, are important for zinc tolerance. This study shows differences in the uptake and accumulation of zinc by three duckweed species. Landoltia punctata and Lemna minor generally accumulated more zinc than Lemna gibba. L. minor, but not L. gibba or L. punctata, accumulated greater concentrations of zinc in roots compared to fronds when exposed to high levels of zinc. The proportion of zinc stored in the bound form relative to the soluble-form was higher in L. minor. L. punctata accumulated greater concentrations of zinc in fronds compared to roots and increased the proportion of zinc it stored in the soluble form, when exposed to high zinc levels. L. gibba is the only species that significantly accumulated zinc at low concentrations, and was zinc-sensitive. Overall, internal zinc concentrations showed no consistent correlation with toxic effect. We conclude that relationships between zinc toxicity and uptake and accumulation are species specific reflecting, among others, zinc distribution and storage. Differences in zinc distribution and storage are also likely to have implications for zinc bioavailability and trophic mobility.

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