Evaluation of Toxic Effects and Bioaccumulation of Cadmium and Copper in Spring Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.)


  • Jūratė Žaltauskaitė Vytautas Magnus University
  • Irma Šliumpaitė Vytautas Magnus University




bioaccumulation, growth, heavy metal, Hordeum vulgare, toxic effect


This paper deals with the analysis of toxic effects of cadmium and copper on the growth of spring barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) cultivated in hydroponics. The seedlings of barley were treated with four different concentrations of cadmium and copper, ranging from 0.1 to 10 mg L-1. The aim of the study was to assess toxic effects of cadmium (Cd) and copper (Cu) on the growth of spring barley, and to determine metal accumulation in above-ground and underground parts of the plant. The impact of Cu and Cd on photosynthetic pigments (chlorophyll a, b), the content of malondialdehyde (MDA), and the essential micronutrients (Mn, Fe) were examined. Metal treatment reduced the growth of roots (by 60%), shoots (Cd – 48 %, Cu – 57%) and dry weight (Cd – 47 %, Cu – 52%) of barley. Exposure to metals altered the content of photosynthetic pigments and caused lipid peroxidation. Regression analysis revealed that there was significant negative relationship between MDA content and biomass of barley treated with Cu (r=-0.99, p=0.01). The examined heavy metals were accumulated mainly in the roots and bioconcentration of Cu there was higher than that of Cd, indicating that roots tended to accumulate higher amounts of Cu than Cd. Though translocation of Cd from roots to above-ground tissues was higher, higher levels of Cd were observed in leaves.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5755/j01.erem.64.2.1951