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Influence of Biochar and EMS-induced Seed Mutagenesis on the Copper Resilience of Chenopodium quinoa Willd.

Eva Schiermeier (2011)

Masterthesis vom 26.09.2011


Influence of Biochar and EMS-induced Seed Mutagenesis on the Copper Resilience of Chenopodium quinoa Willd.

Einfluss von Biochar und EMS-induzierter Samenmutagenese auf die Kupfer-Resilienz von Chenopodium quinoa Willd.


Environmental pollution with heavy metals is a significantly increasing issue. For instance, copper (Cu) contamination of soils is widespread as a result of mining, smelting, land applications of sewage sludge, use of Cu as fungicide, and other industrial processes. The addition of organic materials such as biochar (BC) to soils is proved to prevent mobility, bioavailability and toxicity of specific elements and is therefore suggested for remediation of organic or inorganic contaminants. This study was carried out to investigate and to improve the Cu resilience of Chenopodium quinoa in two approaches. First of all the capability of BC to sorb Cu and its influence on the physiology of Quinoa was analyzed. The aim of the second approach was to generate Cu tolerant Quinoa mutants by using ethyl methanesulfonate (EMS). - BC experiments were conducted with young Quinoa plants grown in a sandy soil with addition of 0, 2 or 4% BC and increasing levels of copper(II) sulfate pentahydrate. 0, 25 or 50μg/g Cu was supplied several times. When BC was present in soil, less Cu entered the plant tissues, why roots and leaves showed reduced Cu concentrations. But overall, BC was not alleviating Cu effects in all cases. It rather alone had some impacts on the behavior of the plants: Contrary to expectations, plants growing in soil with a BC amendment without copper showed a decreased growth height. Cation contents of Mg and Ca in old leaves were decreased and increased in roots because of translocation disorders, while content of K was increased in leaves and roots. The activity of antioxidant enzymes catalase, ascorbat-peroxidase and superoxide-dismutase decreased. All photochemical quenching parameters rose up, but ETR/CO2-ratio did not change compared to the control. Negative effects of BC were that the rate of net-photosynthesis was diminished (not significantly). Furthermore, BC displayed decreased chlorophyll content. It rose water holding capacity of the soil, but also rose pH and hence reduced soil respiration. Plants with Cu showed a reduced growth and a reduction in their chlorophyll content (not significantly), which are typical symptoms for excess copper and formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Contents of Ca, Mg and K increased in roots while there was no alteration in leaves compared to the control. As expected, content of Cu was exceedingly high in roots and leaves. The quenching parameters decreased and the ETR/CO2-ratio increased because of ROS formation. The rate of netphotosynthesis was diminished (not significantly). The antioxidant enzyme activity regressed which was not expected. Besides, Cu had a negative impact on soil respiration due to its antibacterial activity. - The second approach which was to generate Quinoa mutants was successful but they did not attain a better copper tolerance. However, the method to cause seed mutagenesis with EMS could be established. To accomplish this approach further research is needed to find the optimal combination of EMS concentration and exposure time for Quinoa seeds.