New paper published – Toxic Influence of Key Organic Soil Pollutants on the Total Flavonoid Content in Wheat Leaves

Text by Lauri Laanisto

Another study through Ülo Niinemets´connection in Romania (see the one about the effects of wifi and phone waves on volatiles here). This time they looked into how textile dyes and antibiotics (which are the main classes of organic pollutants in soils and fresh waters) affect wheat growth and development. It was an experiment done in the lab, where they already added pollutants to the soils 14 days after sowing the seeds. They took biochemically very detailed approach towards the pollutants. And as expected, dyes and antibiotics had significantly affected wheat leaf flavonoids, which in turn indicate the amount of stress plant is enduring. Significant differences were detected with all six pollutants studied.

I guess the results of this study are not very surprising. Unfortunately…

Citation: Copaciu, F., Opriş, O., Niinemets, Ü., & Copolovici, L. (2016). Toxic Influence of Key Organic Soil Pollutants on the Total Flavonoid Content in Wheat Leaves. Water, Air, & Soil Pollution, 227: 196, DOI 10.1007/s11270-016-2888-x. (link to full text)


Inducing stress on what (pic… actually painting by Van Gogh, 1889)


Textile dyes and antibiotics are two main classes of environmental pollutants which could be found in soil and water. Those persistent pollutants can have a negative influence on plant growth and development and affect the level of secondary metabolites. In the present work, we studied the effect of textile dyes and antibiotics on total leaf flavonoid contents in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Contaminant solutions were applied daily using concentrations of 0.5 mg L−1 (lower) and 1.5 mg L−1 (higher dose) for either 1 or 2 weeks. We observed that exposure to the higher concentration of textile dyes resulted in a reduction in flavonoid content while antibiotics enhanced flavonoid contents at lower doses of exposure and reduced at higher doses of exposure. These results suggest that diffuse chronic pollution by artificial organic contaminants can importantly alter antioxidative capacity of plants.

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