iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Assessment of cadmium tolerance and phytoextraction ability in young Populus deltoides L. and Populus × euramericana plants through morpho-anatomical and physiological responses to growth in cadmium enriched soil

Nataša Nikolić (1)   , Lana Zorić (1), Ivana Cvetković (1), Slobodanka Pajević (1), Milan Borišev (1), Saša Orlović (2), Andrej Pilipović (2)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 10, Issue 3, Pages 635-644 (2017)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor2165-010
Published: Jun 01, 2017 - Copyright © 2017 SISEF

Research Articles

Fast growing woody plants represent effective tools for cadmium (Cd) extraction during remediation of low to medium Cd contaminated soils. Poplars are good candidates for this task because of their rapid growth rate, high biomass yield, and adaptability, as well as the availability of well-characterized clones/ genotypes with various anatomical and physiological traits. The present study evaluates the potential of Populus deltoides (clone B-81) and Populus × euramericana (clone Pannonia) for phytoremediation of Cd contamination in soil. Poplar clones were analyzed for (1) plant growth response to Cd contamination, (2) Cd accumulation, translocation, and partitioning between plant organs, and (3) morphological, anatomical and physiological responses to Cd stress as a function of biomass production. Plants were cultivated in soil moderately contaminated with Cd (8.14 mg kg-1 soil) under semi-controlled conditions for six weeks. Our results suggest that P. × euramericana and P. deltoides clones respond differently to Cd contamination. Biomass production and morphological characteristics were more negatively affected in P. × euramericana than in P. deltoides plants. However, most examined leaf structural parameters were not significantly affected by Cd. In most cases, photosynthetic characteristics and gas exchange parameters were affected by Cd treatment, but the levels and patterns of changes depended on the clone. High tolerance to applied Cd levels, as estimated by the tolerance index, was observed in both clones, but was higher in P. deltoides than P. × euramericana (82.2 vs. 66.5, respectively). We suspect that the higher tolerance to Cd toxicity observed in P. deltoides could be related to unchanged proline content and undisturbed nitrogen metabolism. Following treatment, 58.0 and 46.7% of the total Cd content was accumulated in the roots of P. × euramericana and P. deltoides, respectively, with the remainder in the stems (18.2 and 39.9%) and leaves (23.8 and 13.4%). In summary, P. deltoides displayed better phytoextraction performance under Cd exposure than P. × euramericana, suggesting its potential not only for Cd phytostabilization, but also phytoextraction projects.


Cadmium, Phytoextraction, Poplars, Tolerance, Toxicity

Authors’ address

Nataša Nikolić
Lana Zorić
Ivana Cvetković
Slobodanka Pajević
Milan Borišev
Department of Biology and Ecology, Faculty of Sciences, Trg D. Obradovića 2, Novi Sad (Republic of Serbia)
Saša Orlović
Andrej Pilipović
Institute of Lowland Forestry and Environment, Antona Cehova 13, 21000 Novi Sad (Republic of Serbia)

Corresponding author

Nataša Nikolić


Nikolić N, Zorić L, Cvetković I, Pajević S, Borišev M, Orlović S, Pilipović A (2017). Assessment of cadmium tolerance and phytoextraction ability in young Populus deltoides L. and Populus × euramericana plants through morpho-anatomical and physiological responses to growth in cadmium enriched soil. iForest 10: 635-644. - doi: 10.3832/ifor2165-010

Academic Editor

Claudia Cocozza

Paper history

Received: Jul 06, 2016
Accepted: Mar 30, 2017

First online: Jun 01, 2017
Publication Date: Jun 30, 2017
Publication Time: 2.10 months

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