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Phytotoxic Effects of Cadmium on Seed Germination, Early Seedling Growth and Antioxidant Enzyme Activities in Cucurbita maxima Duchesne

Author Affiliations

  • 1 PG Department of Botany and Research, Sree Narayana College, Nattika, Thrissur, Kerala, INDIA
  • 2

Int. Res. J. Biological Sci., Volume 2, Issue (9), Pages 40-47, September,10 (2013)


The environment is constantly being polluted by the accumulation of heavy metal contaminants. This is a matter of serious concern as it adversely affects the health of humans and animals. These contaminants also pose a major threat to Agricultural sector. Cadmium is an important heavy metal extensively used in electronic and other industries. The present investigation was conducted to determine the phytotoxic effect of heavy metal cadmium on seed germination, early seedling growth and antioxidant enzymes activity of Cucurbitamaxima Duchesne. The different dilutions of cadmium (25ppm; 50ppm; 100ppm; 250ppm and 500ppm) were used. Various parameters considered for the study includes percent seed germination, root and shoot elongation, seedling size, fresh and dry weight, root/shoot ratio, dry weight/fresh weight ratio, seedling vigor index, inhibition of seedling growth, tolerance index, activity of antioxidant enzymes like catalase, peroxidase and superoxide dismutase. All the tested concentrations were found inhibitory in action with respect to all the parameters, with the exception of dry weight/fresh weight ratio and activities of antioxidant enzymes which were found to gradually increase as the concentration of cadmium increased. However a slight decline in antioxidant enzyme activities was recorded due to acute cadmium stress at higher level (s). The intensity of inhibitory effect on all other parameters was directly proportional to the concentration of cadmium solution employed and inhibition was more prominent at 250ppm and 500ppm.


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