Responses of antioxidant systems after exposition to rare earths and their role in chilling stress in common duckweed (Lemna minor L.): A defensive weapon or a boomerang?

M.P. Ippolito, C. Fasciano, L. D'Aquino, M. Morgana, F. Tommasi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Citations (Scopus)


Extensive agriculture application of rare earth elements (REEs) in Far East countries might cause spreading of these metals in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, thus inducing a growing concern about their environmental impact. In this work the effects of a mix of different REE nitrate (RE) and of lanthanum nitrate (LA) on catalase and antioxidant systems involved in the ascorbate-glutathione cycle were investigated in common duckweed Lemna minor L. The results indicated that L. minor shows an overall good tolerance to the presence of REEs in the media. Treatments at concentrations up to 5 mM RE and 5 mM LA did not cause either visible symptoms on plants or significant effects on reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, chlorophyll content, and lipid peroxidation. Toxic effects were observed after 5 days of exposition to 10 mM RE and 10 mM LA. A remarkable increase in glutathione content as well as in enzymatic antioxidants was observed before the appearance of the stress symptoms in treated plants. Duckweed plants pretreated with RE and LA were also exposed to chilling stress to verify whether antioxidants variations induced by RE and LA improve plant resistance to the chilling stress. In pretreated plants, a decrease in ascorbate and glutathione redox state and in chlorophyll content and an increase in lipid peroxidation and ROS production levels were observed. The use of antioxidant levels as a stress marker for monitoring REE toxicity in aquatic ecosystems by means of common duckweed is discussed. © 2009 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42 - 52
Number of pages11
JournalArchives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Cite this