Copper- and arsenate-induced oxidative stress in Holcus lanatus L. clones with differential sensitivity

J. Hartley-Whitaker*, G. Ainsworth, A. A. Meharg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

373 Citations (Scopus)


The biochemical responses of Holcus lanatus L. to copper and arsenate exposure were investigated in arsenate-tolerant and -non-tolerant plants from uncontaminated and arsenic/copper-contaminated sites. Increases in lipid peroxidation, superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity and phytochelatin (PC) production were correlated with increasing copper and arsenate exposure. In addition, significant differences in biochemical responses were observed between arsenate-tolerant and -non-tolerant plants. Copper and arsenate exposure led to the production of reactive oxygen species, resulting in significant lipid peroxidation in non-tolerant plants. However, SOD activity was suppressed upon metal exposure, possibly due to interference with metallo-enzymes. It was concluded that in non-tolerant plants, rapid arsenate influx resulted in PC production, glutathione depletion and lipid peroxidation. This process would also occur in tolerant plants, but by decreasing the rate of influx, they were able to maintain their constitutive functions, detoxify the metals though PC production and quench reactive oxygen species by SOD activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)713-722
Number of pages10
JournalPlant Cell and Environment
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Arsenic
  • Biomarker
  • Lipid peroxidation
  • Metal tolerance
  • Phytochelatin
  • Superoxide dismutase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Copper- and arsenate-induced oxidative stress in Holcus lanatus L. clones with differential sensitivity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this