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Vol. 10 No. 4 - October 2004

Chromium Accumulation and Toxicity in

Aquatic Vascular  Plants

by Prakash Chandra & Kamla Kulshreshtha (India)

          The indiscriminate discharge of spent waste of chromium based industries has become a serious global concern as it has created an acute scarcity of safe drinking water in many countries including India. The problem of chromium poisoning among leather tanners has long been known. The workers suffer from ulcers, allergic dermatitis, lung cancer and liver necrosis due to prolonged contact with chromium salts.

            Aquatic vascular plants play an important role in the uptake, storage and recycling of metals. The uptake of metals depends on the chemical form present in the system and on the life form of the macrophytes (floating, rooted or rootless). While submerged species showed higher chromium accumulation, emergent species also showed moderate accumulation.

            At biochemical level, chromium toxicity caused reduction in the rate of photosynthesis and decrease in chlorophyll pigments. Chromium induced morphological and ultra-structural changes reported in several vascular plants (Lemna minor, Ceratophyllum demersum, Limnanthemum cristatum) are quite characteristic and may serve as indicators of chromium pollution.

(For more details see: Botanical Review vol. 70, No. 3, pp. 313-327, 2004)

Dr. Prakash Chandra is a former Scientist & Head, Aquatic Botany Laboratory, National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow, India; Dr. Kamla Kulshreshtha is Scientist & Head, Eco-education Division at NBRI.

This article has been reproduced from the archives of EnviroNews - Newsletter of ISEB India.

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