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Higher Plants Ability to Assimilate Explosives

Authors: G. Khatisashvili, M. Gordeziani, G. Adamia, E. Kvesitadze, T. Sadunishvili, G. Kvesitadze


The ability of agricultural and decorative plants to absorb and detoxify TNT and RDX has been studied. All tested 8 plants, grown hydroponically, were able to absorb these explosives from water solutions: Alfalfa > Soybean > Chickpea> Chikling vetch >Ryegrass > Mung bean> China bean > Maize. Differently from TNT, RDX did not exhibit negative influence on seed germination and plant growth. Moreover, some plants, exposed to RDX containing solution were increased in their biomass by 20%. Study of the fate of absorbed [1-14ðí]-TNT revealed the label distribution in low and high-molecular mass compounds, both in roots and above ground parts of plants, prevailing in the later. Content of 14ðí in lowmolecular compounds in plant roots are much higher than in above ground parts. On the contrary, high-molecular compounds are more intensively labeled in aboveground parts of soybean. Most part (up to 70%) of metabolites of TNT, formed either by enzymatic reduction or oxidation, is found in high molecular insoluble conjugates. Activation of enzymes, responsible for reduction, oxidation and conjugation of TNT, such as nitroreductase, peroxidase, phenoloxidase and glutathione S-transferase has been demonstrated. Among these enzymes, only nitroreductase was shown to be induced in alfalfa, exposed to RDX. The increase in malate dehydrogenase activities in plants, exposed to both explosives, indicates intensification of Tricarboxylic Acid Cycle, that generates reduced equivalents of NAD(P)H, necessary for functioning of the nitroreductase. The hypothetic scheme of TNT metabolism in plants is proposed.

Keywords: Transformation, TNT, RDX, Higher plants

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