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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Cadmium Reduction in Spring Wheat: Root Exudate Composition Affects Cd Partitioning Between Roots and Shoots

Affholder, M. C.; Moazzami, A. A.; Weih, M.; Kirchmann, H.; Herrmann, A. M.


Cadmium (Cd) in cereals is one of the major sources of Cd intake by human diets, and solutions to reduce Cd concentrations in wheat still need to be developed. Plant breeding, by selecting low-Cd varieties, can be an important tool to reduce Cd in crops. Knowing the genotypic variation in Cd accumulation and furthering our understanding of the impact of root exudates composition on Cd accumulation in crops may provide valuable information for plant breeding. In this study, we selected nine spring wheat varieties and analysed the accumulation and distribution of Cd in shoots, roots, root surfaces and kernels in relation to their qualitative and quantitative composition of root exudates, determined by H-1-NMR (Proton Nuclear Magnetic Resonance). Results showed that the Cd concentration in shoots at an early stage could be used as a predictor for Cd concentration in kernels. Total Cd uptake was not correlated to the mobility of Cd in the rhizosphere, but total Cd was negatively correlated to Cd adsorbed at the root surface. Furthermore, (i) exudation of organic acids (primarily succinate and acetate) increased Cd concentration in shoots, and (ii) exudation of nucleosides, DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) degradation products, increased Cd adsorption at the root surface. Therefore, root exudates composition should be taken into account when selecting for low-Cd wheat traits.


H-1-NMR; Organic acids; Triticum aestivum; Heavy metal; Genotypic variation; Extracellular DNA

Published in

Journal of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition
2023, Volume: 23, number: 3, pages: 3537-3547