Defining appropriate methods for studying toxicities of trace metals in nutrient solutions
Abstract The use of inappropriate experimental conditions for examining trace metal phytotoxicity results in data of questionable value. The present study aimed to identify suitable parameters for study of phytotoxic metals in nutrient solutions. First, the literature was reviewed to determine the concentration of six metals (Cd, Cu, Hg, Ni, Pb, and Zn) from solution of contaminated soils. Next, the effects of pH, P, Cl, NO 3 , and four Fe-chelators were investigated by using thermodynamic modelling and by examining changes in root elongation rate of soybean ( Glycine max cv. Bunya). The literature review identified that the solution concentrations of metals in soils were low, ranging from (μM) 0.069–11Cd, 0.19–15.8 Cu, 0.000027–0.000079 Hg, 1.0–8.7 Ni, 0.004–0.55 Pb, and 0.4–36.3 Zn. For studies in nutrient solution, pH should generally be low given its effects on solubility and speciation, as should the P concentration due to the formation of insoluble phosphate salts. The concentrations of Cl, NO 3 , and various chelators also influence metal toxicity through alteration of metal speciation. The nutrient solutions used to study metal toxicity should consider environmentally-relevant conditions especially for metal concentrations, with concentrations of other components added at levels that do not substantially alter metal toxicity. Highlights Suitable parameters were provided for study of phytotoxic metals in nutrient solution. Both pH and P should be generally low to kept solubility and speciation of metals. Environmental-relevant concentrations should be considered to study metal toxicity.
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