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Journal of Integrative Agriculture  2019, Vol. 18 Issue (5): 1130-1137    DOI: 10.1016/S2095-3119(18)62017-9
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Polyaspartic acid mediates the absorption and translocation of mineral elements in tomato seedlings under combined copper and cadmium stress
HU Mei-mei*, DOU Qiao-hui*, CUI Xiu-min, LOU Yan-hong, ZHUGE Yu-ping
National Engineering Laboratory for Efficient Utilization of Soil and Fertilizer Resources/College of Resource and Environment, Shandong Agricultural University, Tai’an 271018, P.R.China
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Polyaspartic acid (PASP) is a nontoxic, biodegradable, environmentally friendly polymer and is widely used as a fertilizer synergist in agricultural production.  In many old orchards and vegetable gardens, highly fertile soil is often accompanied by severe heavy metal contamination.  The present study was designed to investigate mineral element interactions mediated by PASP under copper (Cu)+cadmium (Cd) combined stress to provide reasonable suggestions for scientific fertilization.  A pot experiment was conducted in which tomato seedlings served as plant materials.  A concentration of 700 mg L–1 PASP and foliar spraying application methods were selected based on previous experiments.  Four treatments were applied: normal soil (control (CK)), Cu+Cd (combined stress), Cu+Cd+PASP, and normal soil+PASP.  The plant biomass, root activity, and mineral elements were measured, and these data were analyzed by Data Processing System (DPS) statistical software.  The results showed that, under Cu+Cd combined stress, PASP promoted stem diameter growth, root activity and chlorophyll content and ultimately increased the biomass of tomato seedlings to different degrees.  Moreover, the content of both Cu and Cd and their individual accumulation in plants decreased.  PASP increased the distribution of Cu and Cd in the roots under Cu+Cd combined stress, and the translocation ability from the roots to shoots was significantly restricted.  With respect to essential elements, PASP promoted mainly the absorption and translocation of potassium (K), calcium (Ca), and magnesium (Mg), which greatly exerted physiological roles.  However, the variation trends of Cu and Cd under normal soil conditions contrasted with those under stress conditions.  With respect to essential elements other than K, Ca, and Mg, PASP mostly restrained their absorption but promoted their translocation.  The regulatory mechanism of PASP differed between the combined stress conditions and normal soil conditions.  Under the combined stress conditions, PASP seemed to mainly promote these advantageous factors that exert physiological regulatory functions.  Under normal soil conditions, PASP mainly acted as a biological stimulant or signaling molecule for increased nutrient efficiency, which caused greater biomass productivity. 
Keywords:  tomato seedlings        polyaspartic acid       Cu+Cd combined stress  
Received: 05 February 2018   Accepted:
Fund: This work was supported by the Project of Shandong Province Higher Educational Science and Technology Program, China (J16LF02), the Funds of Shandong “Double Tops” Program, China (SYL2017YSTD01), and the Major Scientific and Technological Innovation Project in Shandong Province, China (2018CXGC0209).
Corresponding Authors:  Correspondence CUI Xiu-min, Mobile: +86-13905489073, E-mail:    
About author:  HU Mei-mei, Mobile: +86-18805487998, E-mail: jingtianweidi2007; * These authors contributed equally to this study.

Cite this article: 

HU Mei-mei, DOU Qiao-hui, CUI Xiu-min, LOU Yan-hong, ZHUGE Yu-ping. 2019. Polyaspartic acid mediates the absorption and translocation of mineral elements in tomato seedlings under combined copper and cadmium stress. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 18(5): 1130-1137.

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