John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Chemiluminescent examination of abiotic oxidative stress of watercress

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Courtesy of John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Watercress (Nasturtium officinale) is an aquatic plant that readily bioaccumulates heavy metals that may be found in contaminated aquatic systems. Toxic effects of contaminants on the physiological processes cause changes in oxidase enzymatic activity in watercress, which can be measured using a luminometer. The luminometer uses the reaction produced when peroxidases break down hydrogen peroxide into water and an oxygen radical. The resulting oxyradical binds to and oxidizes phenolic groups producing a measureable luminescent reaction. N. officinale plants were exposed to three different concentrations of heavy metals including lead, nickel, copper, and manganese for 24, 48, and 72 hour exposures. Aquatic exposure to the four heavy metals caused a significant increase in oxidative enzyme production. Fluorometric and morphometric measurements were also conducted in order to compare plant stress to the oxidative enzyme analyses. Fluorometric measurements performed on plants stressed by exposure to heavy metals revealed no significant decreases in photosystem II efficiency. Morphometric measurements of root length showed decreased root growth resulting from exposures to nickel, copper, and manganese. Environ Toxicol Chem © 2013 SETAC

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