Soil-applied zinc and copper suppress cadmium uptake and improve the performance of cereals and legumes
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The present study aimed to evaluate the effect of soil-applied Zn and Cu on absorption and accumulation of Cd applied through irrigation water in legume (chickpea and mung bean) and cereal (wheat and maize) crops. The results revealed that Cd in irrigation water at higher levels (2 and 5 mg L-1) significantly (p < 0.05) reduced the plant biomass while the soil application of Zn and Cu, singly or combined, favored the biomass production. Plant tissue Cd concentration increased linearly with the increasing application of Cd via irrigation water. While Cd application caused a redistribution of metals in grains, straw, and roots with the highest concentration of Cd, Zn, and Cu occurred in roots followed by straw and grains. Zinc addition to soil alleviated Cd toxicity by decreasing Cd concentration in plant tissues due to a possible antagonistic effect. The addition of Cu to the soil had no consistent effects on Zn and Cd contents across all crops. Inhibitory effects of Cd on the uptake and accumulation of Zn and Cu have also been observed at higher Cd load. Thus, soil-applied Zn and Cu antagonized Cd helping the plant to cope with its toxicity and suppressed the toxic effects of Cd in plant tissues, thus favoring plant growth.
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