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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Selenium tolerance, accumulation, localization and speciation in a Cardamine hyperaccumulator and a non-hyperaccumulator.


Cardamine violifolia (family Brassicaceae) is the first discovered selenium hyperaccumulator from the genus Cardamine with unique properties in terms of selenium accumulation, i.e., high abundance of selenolanthionine. In our study, a fully comprehensive experiment was conducted with the comparison of a non-hyperaccumulator Cardamine species, Cardamine pratensis, covering growth characteristics, chlorophyll fluorescence, spatial selenium/sulfur distribution patterns through elemental analyses (synchrotron-based X-Ray Fluorescence and ICP-OES) and speciation data through selenium K-edge micro X-ray absorption near-edge structure analysis (μXANES) and strong cation exchange (SCX)-ICP-MS. The results revealed remarkable differences in contrast to other selenium hyperaccumulators as neither Cardamine species showed evidence of growth stimulation by selenium. Also, selenite uptake was not inhibited by phosphate for either of the Cardamine species. Sulfate inhibited selenate uptake, but the two Cardamine species did not show any difference in this respect. However, μXRF derived speciation maps and selenium/sulfur uptake characteristics provided results that are similar to other formerly reported hyperaccumulator and non-hyperaccumulator Brassicaceae species. μXANES showed organic selenium, "C-Se-C", in seedlings of both species and also in mature C. violifolia plants. In contrast, selenate-supplied mature C. pratensis contained approximately half "C-Se-C" and half selenate. SCX-ICP-MS data showed evidence of the lack of selenocystine in any of the Cardamine plant extracts. Thus, C. violifolia shows clear selenium-related physiological and biochemical differences compared to C. pratensis and other selenium hyperaccumulators.

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