Research Topic

Implications of metal uptake and resistance in plants for phytoremediation, biofortification and food safety concerns

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A global public health concern is emerging from the recognition of increasing levels of toxic or heavy metals in the environment. Phytoremediation is an attractive set of plant-based technologies including the proposed deployment of green plants to assist monitoring, management and reduction of toxic metal ...

A global public health concern is emerging from the recognition of increasing levels of toxic or heavy metals in the environment. Phytoremediation is an attractive set of plant-based technologies including the proposed deployment of green plants to assist monitoring, management and reduction of toxic metal contaminants in soils and waters. Potential candidate plants for phytoremediation purposes are at least expected to be able to grow in contaminated areas. To make useful contributions in removal of toxic metals from contaminated sites, the candidate plants with enhanced metal uptake in the roots, translocation to the shoots for accumulation, and resistance/tolerance to metal toxicity are needed.
Some genotypes of food plants including potatoes, rice grains and many leafy vegetables are good accumulators of high levels of toxic metals such as cadmium. There is a growing demand for the identification and development of food-safe plant cultivars. A key to making progress towards this goal lies in a better understanding of metal uptake in the roots, subsequent translocation, partitioning and resistance in food plants.
Some trace metallic elements such as iron and zinc are associated with another public health issue, namely the problems arising from their potential deficiencies in human dietary intake. The same elements are also normally essential for plant growth and plants have the natural abilities to accumulate them. A key to biofortification of food plants with increased levels of the desirable trace elements (for humanity) without the toxicity consequences to the plants again rests on a better understanding of the uptake of these elements and tolerance or detoxification strategies used by variant food plants.
Clearly, this research topic is a common key fundamental to advances in all of the three above-mentioned areas of investigations. The aim is to bring together the novel findings from all the three areas in the same resource rather than to treat each area as a separate topic. It is anticipated that this will enable quick snap shots of the three related areas at a glance.
Submission of manuscripts (original research, theories and opinions, mini reviews and reviews) is warmly welcome. In particular, this research topic will be a collection of manuscripts by researchers active in the fields of phytoremediation, biofortification and development of food-safe plant cultivars who are: (a) exploiting the power of diverse approaches including genome wide analysis, advanced microscopic and imaging tools, mutant isolation and characterization in model experimental as well as food plants, genetic engineering, and plant breeding to gain new insights about metal uptake and resistance in plants, (b) exploring new mitigation measures, including chemical, microbial, environmental and soil manipulations, against metal toxicity in plants, and (c) probing the cross-talks among plant hormones, antioxidants and other signalling molecules in relation to metal uptake and resistance in plants.


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