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Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2013 Oct;20(10):7433-40. doi: 10.1007/s11356-013-1765-z. Epub 2013 May 9.

The negative effects of cadmium on Bermuda grass growth might be offset by submergence.

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College of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Hunan Agricultural University, Changsha, 410128, People's Republic of China.


Revegetation in the water-level-fluctuation zone (WLFZ) could stabilize riverbanks, maintain local biodiversity, and improve reservoir water quality in the Three Gorges Reservoir Region (TGRR). However, submergence and cadmium (Cd) may seriously affect the survival of transplantations. Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon) is a stoloniferous and rhizomatous prostrate weed displaying high growth rate. A previous study has demonstrated that Bermuda grass can tolerate deep submergence and Cd stress, respectively. In the present study, we further analyzed physiological responses of Bermuda grass induced by Cd-and-submergence stress. The ultimate goal was to explore the possibility of using Bermuda grass for revegetation in the WLFZ of China's TGRR and other riparian areas. The Cd-and-submergence-treated plants had higher malondialdehyde contents and peroxidase than control, and both increased with the Cd concentration increase. All treated plants catalase activity increased with the experimental duration increases, and their superoxide dismutase also gradually increased with the Cd concentration from 1 day to 15 days. Total biomass of the same Cd-and-submergence plants increased along the experimental duration as well. Plants exposed to Cd-and-submergence stress showed shoot elongation. The heights of all treated plants were taller than those of the control. Leaf chlorophyll contents, maximum leaf length, and soluble sugars contents of all the Cd-and-submergence-treated plants were more than those of the untreated control. Although Cd inhibits plants growth, decreases chlorophyll and biomass content, and with the submergence induced the leaf and shoot elongation, more part of the Cd-and-submergence stress plants appeared in the air, exhibited fast growth with maintenance of leaf color, which guaranteed the plants' photosynthesis, and ensured the total biomass and carbohydrate sustainability, further promoting Cd-and-submergence tolerance. The results imply that the negative effects of cadmium on Bermuda grass growth might be offset by submergence.

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