Arsenic (As) occurs naturally in the environment, and is present in all edible and nonedible plant tissues. Plants have multiple mechanisms to prevent plant injury by heavy metals such as As. These same mechanisms could be used to reduce accumulation of As in rice (Oryza sativa L.) grains. From previous study of 1765 international rice accessions, specific accessions were identified as having exceptionally high grain As concentrations (grain As accumulators) and others low grain As (grain As excluders). This study investigated As uptake, transport, and metabolism in six previously identified lines to determine which physiological responses, if any, were associated with accumulation or exclusion of As in grains. Hydroponically grown seedlings were treated with 0 (controls) or 100 mM arsenite [As(III)], and then whole seedlings were analyzed for concentrations of As plus key compounds involved in heavy metal metabolism. Both grain accumulators and grain excluders actively concentrated As within their roots, and both groups had 10-fold higher As concentrations in roots than leaves. In response to As(III), roots of both grain excluders and grain accumulators increased in cysteine and phytochelatin (PC) production, which suggests PC sequestration of As. In contrast, only grain excluders doubled in leaf glutathione (GSH) concentration by 72 h after As(III) addition. Because PC concentrations remained constant in leaves, it appears that the additional leaf GSH in the grain excluders was not used to produce more PC but may instead be forming As-GSH adducts, which also aid in As sequestration.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported in part by the USDA-ARS Headquarters Research Associate Program and National Science Foundation (IOS-1127051). The authors acknowledge the technical skills and support provided by Eric Grunden, Matthew Vandal, and Sandra DiTusa.
© Crop Science Society of America.