NaCl alleviates Cd toxicity by changing its chemical forms of accumulation in the halophyte Sesuvium portulacastrum

Mariem Wali, Emna Fourati, Nizar Hmaeid, Rim Ghabriche, Charlotte Poschenrieder, Chedly Abdelly, Tahar Ghnaya

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30 Citations (Scopus)


© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015. It has previously been shown that certain halophytes can grow and produce biomass despite of the contamination of their saline biotopes with toxic metals. This suggests that these plants are able to cope with both salinity and heavy metal constraints. NaCl is well tolerated by halophytes and apparently can modulate their responses to Cd. However, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. This study explores the impact of NaCl on growth, Cd accumulation, and Cd speciation in tissues of the halophyte Sesuvium portulacastrum. Seedlings of S. portulacastrum were exposed during 1 month to 0, 25, and 50 μM Cd combined with low salinity (LS, 0.09 mM NaCl) or high salinity (HS, 200 mM NaCl) levels. Growth parameters and total tissue Cd concentrations were determined, in leaves, stems, and root. Moreover, Cd speciation in these organs was assessed by specific extraction procedures. Results showed that, at LS, Cd induced chlorosis and necrosis and drastically reduced plant growth. However, addition of 200mMNaCl to Cd containing medium alleviated significantly Cd toxicity symptoms and restored plant growth. NaCl reduced the concentration of Cd in the shoots; nevertheless, due to maintenance of higher biomass under HS, the quantity of accumulated Cd was not modified. NaCl modified the chemical form of Cd in the tissues by increasing the proportion of Cd bound to pectates, proteins, and chloride suggesting that this change in speciation is involved in the positive impact of NaCl on Cd tolerance. We concluded that the tolerance of S. portulacastrum to Cd was enhanced by NaCl. This effect is rather governed by the modification of the speciation of the accumulated Cd than by the reduction of Cd absorption and translocation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10769-10777
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015


  • Cadmium tolerance
  • Chemical forms
  • Halophyte
  • NaCl
  • Phytoremediation
  • Sesuvium portulacastrum


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