• cadmium mobilization;
  • maize;
  • sunflower;
  • flax;
  • spinach


Cadmium (Cd) is toxic to plants, animals, and humans. However, different plant species growing on the same soil may have very different shoot Cd concentrations depending on properties such as size of the root system, Cd net influx, shoot-growth rate, Cd translocation from root to shoot, and the ability to affect Cd availability in the soil. To investigate possible reasons for different shoot Cd concentrations maize, sunflower, flax, and spinach were grown on an acid sandy soil (pH<$>_{{\rm{(CaCl}}_{\rm{2}} {\rm)}<$> 4.5, and Corg 2.8%) in a growth chamber with Cd additions as Cd(NO3)2 of none, 14, and 40 μmol (kg soil)–1 resulting in Cd soil-solution concentrations of 0.04, 0.68, and 2.5 μM. Only the high Cd addition caused a significant growth reduction of flax and spinach. The shoot Cd concentration was up to 30 times higher in spinach than in maize; the other species were intermediate. Of the plant properties studied only the variation of the Cd net influx explained the differences in shoot Cd concentrations. This was due to a decreased (maize, sunflower) or increased (flax) Cd concentration in soil solution or more effective uptake kinetics (spinach).