Center for Environment and Energy Research & Studies (CEERS)

Germination and seedling growth of corn (Zea mays l.) under varying levels of copper and zinc

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The heavy metal tolerance in corn (Zea mays L.) var. ‘Neelum’ was assessed at germination and seedling growth after having subjected it to different concentrations of CuSO4 and ZnSO4. Germination was not affected by any of the metal tested, whereas initial growth was strongly inhibited by increasing concentrations of ZnSO4. Seedlings developed toxicity symptoms in the presence of both metals but more chlorotic and necrotic regions were observed at varying levels of ZnSO4 than CuSO4. The metal accumulation was concentration dependent. Z. mays seedlings accumulated more copper in roots but greater contents of zinc in their shoots. On the basis of results presented here, it can be concluded that the cultivar of the species tested has shown a marked sensitivity to the presence of small amounts of metals present in the growth medium. The data support the assumption that metal sensitivity is probably due to strong tendency of the species to accumulate them. This justifies that the corn variety ‘Neelum’ is not suitable for the cultivation under situations where water and soil suffer from occasional and/ or transitory metal pollution.

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