Zinc-Induced Genotoxic Effects in Root Meristems of Barley Seedlings

The pollution increase, as a result of the release into environment of genotoxic chemicals, including heavy metals, largely affects the ecosystems and the health of living organisms. Although zinc is not considered highly phytotoxic, its excess becomes noxious. In literature, the reports on zinc genotoxicity are equivocal. Therefore, the objective of this work was to evaluate the amplitude of cytogenetic damage induced in Hordeum vulgare L. cv. "MadalinĂ¢" after seed treatment with different concentrations (10, 100, 250, 500 uM) of Zn+2, provided as zinc sulphate and zinc acetate. The mitostimulatory effect was present at all concentrations of both zinc compounds. The rate of ana-telophase aberrations exceeded by 2 - 3 times the control, and the frequency of metaphase disturbances was 5.0-10.0 times higher than the control. The results indicate the clastogenic and aneugenic potential of zinc in barley and constitute a signal about the risks of its increasing presence into the environment, with repercussions on living systems, even on human health, due to the extensive use of zinc compounds including as pesticides.

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