In recent years, copper (Cu) pollution in agricultural soils, due to arbitrary use of pesticides, fungicides, industrial effluent and wastewater irrigation, present a major concern for sustainable agrifood production especially in developing countries. The world’s major food requirement is fulfilled through agricultural food crops. The Cu-induced losses in growth and yield of food crops probably exceeds from all other causes of food safety and security threats. Here, we review the adverse effects of Cu excess on growth and yield of essential food crops. Numerous studies reported the Cu-induced growth inhibition, oxidative damage and antioxidant response in agricultural food crops such as wheat, rice, maize, sunflower and cucumber. This article also describes the toxic levels of Cu in crops that decreased plant growth and yield due to alterations in mineral nutrition, photosynthesis, enzyme activities and decrease in chlorophyll biosynthesis. The response of various crops to elevated Cu concentrations varies depending upon nature of crop and cultivars used. This review could be helpful to understand the Cu toxicity and the mechanism of its tolerance in food crops. We recommend that Cu-tolerant crops should be grown on Cu-contaminated soils in order to ameliorate the toxic effects for sustainable farming systems and to meet the food demands of the intensively increasing population.
- Mineral nutrition