Phyto-management of Cr-contaminated soils by sunflower hybrids: physiological and biochemical response and metal extractability under Cr stress

Mujahid Farid, Shafaqat Ali, Nudrat Aisha Akram, Muhammad Rizwan, Farhat Abbas, Syed Asad Hussain Bukhari, Rashid Saeed

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50 Citations (Scopus)


Chromium (Cr) is a biologically non-essential, carcinogenic and toxic heavy metal. The cultivation of Cr-tolerant genotypes seems the most favorable and environment friendly strategy for rehabilitation and remediation of Cr-contaminated soils. To prove this hypothesis and identify the Cr tolerance, the present study was performed to assess the physiological and biochemical response of sunflower genotypes to Cr stress. The seeds of six sunflower hybrids, namely FH-425, FH-600, FH-612, FH-614, FH-619, and FH-620, were grown in spiked soil for 12 weeks under increasing concentrations of Cr (0, 5, 10, and 20 mg kg−1). A seed germination test was also run under different concentrations of Cr (0, 5, 10, 200 mM) in petri dishes. Plants were harvested after 12 weeks of germination. Different plant attributes such as growth; biomass; photosynthesis; gas exchange; activity of antioxidant enzymes, i.e., superoxide dismutase (SOD), guaiacol peroxidase (POD), ascorbate (APX), and catalases (CAT); reactive oxygen species (ROS); lipid peroxidation; electrolyte leakage; and Cr concentration as well as accumulations in all plant parts were studied for the selection of the most Cr-tolerant genotype. Increasing concentration of Cr in soil triggered the reduction of all plant parameters in sunflower. Cr stress increased electrolyte leakage and production of reactive oxygen species which stimulated the activities of antioxidant enzymes and gas exchange attributes of sunflower. Chromium accumulation in the root and shoot increased gradually with increasing Cr treatments and caused reduction in overall plant growth. The accumulation of Cr was recorded in the order of FH-614 > FH-620 > FH-600 > FH-619 > FH-612 > FH-425. The differential uptake and accumulation of Cr by sunflower hybrids may be useful in selection and breeding for Cr-tolerant genotypes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16845-16859
Number of pages15
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Antioxidant enzymes
  • Chromium
  • Gas exchange parameters
  • Growth
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Sunflower hybrids


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