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Chemosphere. 2018 Oct 2;214:771-780. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2018.09.170. [Epub ahead of print]

Metabolomics reveals defensive mechanisms adapted by maize on exposure to high molecular weight polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

Author information

1
Global Centre for Environmental Remediation, Faculty of Science, The University of Newcastle, University Drive, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia; Centre for Environmental Risk Assessment and Remediation (CERAR), University of South Australia, Mawson Lakes, SA, 5095, Australia; Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environments, ATC Building, The University of Newcastle, University Drive, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia.
2
Centre for Environmental Risk Assessment and Remediation (CERAR), University of South Australia, Mawson Lakes, SA, 5095, Australia; Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environments, ATC Building, The University of Newcastle, University Drive, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia.
3
Global Centre for Environmental Remediation, Faculty of Science, The University of Newcastle, University Drive, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia; Centre for Environmental Risk Assessment and Remediation (CERAR), University of South Australia, Mawson Lakes, SA, 5095, Australia; Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environments, ATC Building, The University of Newcastle, University Drive, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia. Electronic address: megh.mallavarapu@newcastle.edu.au.

Abstract

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are an important group of persistent organic pollutants. Using plants to remediate PAHs has been recognized as a cost-effective and environmentally friendly technique. However, the overall impact of PAHs on the regulation of plant metabolism has not yet been explored. In this study, we analyzed the alteration in the maize (Zea mays L.) metabolome on exposure to high molecular weight PAHs such as benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) and pyrene (PYR) in a hydroponic medium, individually and as a mixture (BaP + PYR) using GC-MS. The differences in the metabolites were analyzed using XCMS (an acronym for various forms (X) of chromatography-mass spectrometry), an online-based data analysis tool. A significant variation in metabolites was observed between treatment groups and the unspiked control group. The univariate, multivariate and pathway impact analysis showed there were more significant alterations in metabolic profiles between individual PAHs and the mixture of BaP and PYR. The marked changes in the metabolites of galactose metabolism and aminoacyl tRNA biosynthesis in PAHs treated maize leaves exhibit the adaptive defensive mechanisms for individual and PAHs mixture. Therefore, the metabolomics approach is essential for an understanding of the complex biochemical responses of plants to PAHs contaminants. This knowledge will shed new light in the field of phytoremediation, bio-monitoring, and environmental risk assessment.

KEYWORDS:

Benzo[a]pyrene and pyrene; Galactose metabolism; Maize metabolome; Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; Untargeted metabolomics

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