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Open access

Valerija Vujčić and Sandra Radić Brkanac

Abstract

Water deficit in the soil leads to osmotic stress in plants. The type of stress affects plant water relations, osmolyte accumulation and oxidative stress balance. The present study aimed to investigate the effects of osmotic stress on the Croatian perennial species Fibigia triquetra (DC.) Boiss, adapted to a hot and dry habitat. Plants grown in culture conditions were subjected to isoosmotic concentrations of mannitol and polyethylene glycol (PEG) and certain physiological and oxidative stress parameters were analyzed during a period of 14 days. Dry weight and proline content in Fibigia triquetra shoots increased in response to osmotic stress while the relative water content decreased. After an initial rise, chlorophyll and carotenoid levels in treated plants dropped to untreated plant levels. Oxidative damage to proteins and especially to lipids was evident upon PEG-induced osmotic stress. Superoxide dismutase and ascorbate peroxidase appear to play an essential protective role in stressed plants. Regardless of the osmotic agent, accumulation of heat-shock proteins of 70 kDa was noticed under osmotic stress. The tolerance of the plant species to osmotic stress seems to be associated with increased capacity of the antioxidative system and efficient photoprotective system.

Open access

Sandra Radić Brkanac, Valerija Vujčić, Petra Cvjetko, Vid Baković and Višnja Oreščanin

Summary

Leachates from active and closed municipal solid waste landfills can be a major source of contamination to groundwater and surface waters. In the present study the toxic and genotoxic potential of leachate from an old sanitary landfill prior to and following chemical and electrochemical treatments were assessed using Lemna, Allium, and comet tests. Photosynthetic pigments, malondialdehyde (indicator of lipid peroxidation) and antioxidant enzyme activities were evaluated as additional indicators of toxicity in duckweed. Following duckweed exposure to 25 % dilution of landfill leachate, growth rate and photosynthetic pigments content significantly decreased while lipid peroxidation increased despite stimulation of antioxidative defence mechanisms. Diluted leachate induced DNA strand breaks in duckweed cells as evidenced by the comet assay. Regarding the Allium test, untreated leachate caused inhibition of Allium cepa cell division and induction of mitotic and chromosomal aberrations. Although both water treatments completely reduced genotoxicity of leachate, the electrochemical method was found to be more efficient in removing toxic substances present in landfill leachate and thus more suitable for treating such leachates prior to their discharge into the environment. As landfill leachates pose a risk to human health and environment in general due to their (geno)toxicity, the present study demonstrates that the ecotoxicity/genotoxicity assays should be used in leachate risk assessment together with physicochemical analysis.