Arsenic uptake, toxicity, detoxification, and speciation in plants : physiological, biochemical, and molecular aspects

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Abbas, G, Murtaza, B, Bibi, I, Shahid, M, Niazi, NK, Khan, MI, Amjad, M, Hussain, M & Natasha 2018, 'Arsenic uptake, toxicity, detoxification, and speciation in plants : physiological, biochemical, and molecular aspects', International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 15, no. 1.

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Environmental contamination with arsenic (As) is a global environmental, agricultural and health issue due to the highly toxic and carcinogenic nature of As. Exposure of plants to As, even at very low concentration, can cause many morphological, physiological, and biochemical changes. The recent research on As in the soil-plant system indicates that As toxicity to plants varies with its speciation in plants (e.g., arsenite, As(III); arsenate, As(V)), with the type of plant species, and with other soil factors controlling As accumulation in plants. Various plant species have different mechanisms of As(III) or As(V) uptake, toxicity, and detoxification. This review briefly describes the sources and global extent of As contamination and As speciation in soil. We discuss different mechanisms responsible for As(III) and As(V) uptake, toxicity, and detoxification in plants, at physiological, biochemical, and molecular levels. This review highlights the importance of the As-induced generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), as well as their damaging impacts on plants at biochemical, genetic, and molecular levels. The role of different enzymatic (superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione reductase, and ascorbate peroxidase) and non-enzymatic (salicylic acid, proline, phytochelatins, glutathione, nitric oxide, and phosphorous) substances under As(III/V) stress have been delineated via conceptual models showing As translocation and toxicity pathways in plant species. Significantly, this review addresses the current, albeit partially understood, emerging aspects on (i) As-induced physiological, biochemical, and genotoxic mechanisms and responses in plants and (ii) the roles of different molecules in modulation of As-induced toxicities in plants. We also provide insight on some important research gaps that need to be filled to advance our scientific understanding in this area of research on As in soil-plant systems.

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