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Many studies have been devoted to investigation of toxic benzo(a)pyrene (BaP) compound, but studies involving changes at the cellular level are insufficient to understand the mechanisms of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) effect on plants. To study the toxicity of BaP, a model vegetation experiment was conducted on cultivation of spring barley (Hordeum sativum distichum) on artificially polluted BaP soil at different concentrations. The article discusses the intake of BaP from the soil into the plant and its effect on the organismic and cellular levels of plant organization. The BaP content in the organs of spring barley was determined by the method of saponification. With an increase in the concentration of BaP in the soil, its content in plants also rises, which leads to inhibition of growth processes. The BaP content in the green part of Hordeum sativum increased from 0.3 µg kg-1 in control soil up to 2.6 µg kg-1 and 16.8 µg kg-1 under 20 and 400 ng/g BaP applying in soil, as well as in roots: 0.9 µg kg-1, 7.7 µg kg-1, 42.8 µg kg-1, respectively. Using light and electron microscopy, changes in the tissues and cells of plants were found and it was established that accumulation of BaP in plant tissues caused varying degrees of ultrastructural damage depending on the concentration of pollutant. BaP had the greatest effect on the root, significant changes were found in it both at histological and cytological levels, while changes in the leaves were observed only at the cytological level. The results provide significant information about the mechanism of action of BaP on agricultural plants.


Aleksei G Fedorenko, Natalia Chernikova, Tatiana Minkina, Svetlana Sushkova, Tamara Dudnikova, Elena Antonenko, Grigorii Fedorenko, Tatiana Bauer, Saglara Mandzhieva, Andrei Barbashev. Effects of benzo[a]pyrene toxicity on morphology and ultrastructure of Hordeum sativum. Environmental geochemistry and health. 2021 Apr;43(4):1551-1562

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PMID: 32596781

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