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A role for nickel in osmotic adjustment in drought-stressed plants of the nickel hyperaccumulator Stackhousia tryonii Bailey
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Naveen BhatiaNaveen Bhatia, AJM Baker, Kerry WalshKerry Walsh, David MidmoreDavid Midmore
The hypothesis that hyperaccumulation of certain metals in plants may play a role in osmotic adjustment under water stress (drought) was tested in the context of nickel hyperaccumulator Stackhousia tryonii. Field-collected mature plants of S. tryonii, grown in native ultramafic soil, were pruned to soil level and the re-growth exposed to five levels of water stress (20, 40, 60, 80 and 100% field capacity; FC) for 20 weeks. Water stress had significant (P<0.05) influence on growth (biomass), water potential and shoot Ni concentrations, with progressively more impact as water stress was increased from 80 to 40% FC. Shoot Ni concentration increased significantly from 3,400 ug g-1 dry weight (at 100% FC) to 9,400 ug g-1 dry weight (at 20% FC). Assuming that Ni is uniformly distributed through the shoot tissue, the Ni concentration could account for 100% at the 80 and 60% FC conditions, and 50% at the 40 and 20% FC conditions of plant osmotic regulation. The results are consistent with a role of Ni in osmotic adjustment and protection of S. tryonii plants against drought.