Highly efficient xylem transport of arsenite in the arsenic hyperaccumulator Pteris vittata


Author for correspondence:
F. J. Zhao
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Email: Fangjie.Zhao@bbsrc.ac.uk


  • • The hyperaccumulator Pteris vittata translocates arsenic (As) from roots to fronds efficiently, but the form of As translocated in xylem and the main location of arsenate reduction have not been resolved.
  • • Here, P. vittata was exposed to 5 µM arsenate or arsenite for 1–24 h, with or without 100 µM phosphate. Arsenic speciation was determined in xylem sap, roots, fronds and nutrient solutions by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) linked to inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS).
  • • The xylem sap As concentration was 18–73 times that in the nutrient solution. In both arsenate- and arsenite-treated plants, arsenite was the predominant species in the xylem sap, accounting for 93–98% of the total As. A portion of arsenate taken up by roots (30–40% of root As) was reduced to arsenite rapidly. The majority (c. 80%) of As in fronds was arsenite. Phosphate inhibited arsenate uptake, but not As translocation. More As was translocated to fronds in the arsenite-treated than in the arsenate-treated plants. There was little arsenite efflux from roots to the external solution.
  • • Roots are the main location of arsenate reduction in P. vittata. Arsenite is highly mobile in xylem transport, possibly because of efficient xylem loading, little complexation with thiols in roots, and little efflux to the external medium.