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    Many species of the Viola L. genus (violets) colonize areas with high concentrations of trace elements in the soil, e.g., nickel, cadmium, zinc, and lead. Although tolerance to heavy metals is a common phenomenon in violets, it is not clear whether this is the result of gradual microevolutionary processes as a part of the adaptation to the specific conditions, or whether the tolerance was inherited from the ancestor(s). We developed cell suspension cultures of five plant species: two non-metallophytes-Arabidopsis thaliana (Col-0) and Viola · wittrockiana, and three metallophytes-V. philippica, V. tricolor, and Silene vulgaris subsp. humilis for tolerance tests. The aim of the study was to measure the level of tolerance of violets in comparison with species from the other genera to verify the hypothesis of the high, innate tolerance of the former. We measured cell viability, non-enzymatic antioxidant content, and the accumulation of heavy metals after cell treatment with Zn or Pb. The results indicate they are innate and independent on the ecological status (metallophyte vs. non-metallophyte) and high in comparison with other species tolerance to Zn and Pb in violets. Viability of the cells after Zn and Pb (1000 μM) exposure for 72 h was the highest in violets. Antioxidant content, after heavy metal treatment, increased significantly, particularly in metallophyte violets, indicating their high responsivity to metals. In all species, lead was detected in the protoplasm of the cells, not in the vacuole or cell wall. All violets were characterized by the accumulation capacity of lead. Here, we clearly show that the physiological and biochemical studies conducted with the use of heavy metals on plant cells translate into the heavy metal tolerance of the species.


    Szymon Miszczak, Klaudia Sychta, Sławomir Dresler, Agnieszka Kurdziel, Agnieszka Hanaka, Aneta Słomka. Innate, High Tolerance to Zinc and Lead in Violets Confirmed at the Suspended Cell Level. Cells. 2022 Jul 31;11(15)

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    PMID: 35954199

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