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The Induction of Antioxidant Enzyme Activities in Cabbage Seedlings by Heavy Metal Stress

Authors: J. Kumchai, J. Z. Huang, C. Y. Lee, F. C. Chen, S. W. Chin


Cabbage seedlings grown in vitro were exposed to excess levels of heavy metals, including Cd, Mo, and Zn. High metal levels affected plant growth at cotyledonary stage. Seedlings under Cd, Mo, and Zn treatments could not produce root hairs and true leaves. Under stress conditions, seedlings accumulated a higher amount of anthocyanins in their cotyledons than those in the control. The pigments isolated from Cd and Zn stressed seedling cotyledons appeared as pink, while under Mo stress, was dark pink or purple. Moreover, excess Mo stress increased antioxidant enzyme activities of APX, CAT, SOD. These results suggest that, under excess Mo stress, the induced antioxidant enzyme activity of cabbage seedlings may function as a protective mechanism to shield the plants from toxicity and exacerbated growth.

Keywords: anthocyanin, antioxidant enzyme activity, heavy metal, growth inhibition

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