Zinc (as an essential phytonutrient) and cadmium (as a toxic but readily bioavailable nonessential metal for plants) share similar routes for crossing plant biomembranes, although with a substantially different potential for translocation into above-ground tissues. The in situ distribution of these metals in plant cells and tissues (particularly intensively-dividing and fast-growing areas) is poorly understood. In this study, 17-day-old radish (Raphanus sativus L.) plants grown in nutrient solution were subjected to short-term (24 h) equimolar contamination (2.2 µM of each 70Zn and Cd) to investigate their accumulation and distribution in the shoot apex (leaf primordia) and edible fleshy hypocotyl tissues. After 24-h exposure, radish hypocotyl had similar concentration (in µg/g dry weight) of 70Zn (12.1 ± 1.1) and total Cd (12.9 ± 0.8), with relatively limited translocation of both metals to shoots (concentrations lower by 2.5-fold for 70Zn and 4.8-fold for Cd) as determined by inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). The in situ Zn/Cd distribution maps created by high-resolution secondary ion mass spectrometry (NanoSIMS, Cameca, Gennevilliers, France) imaging corresponded well with the ICP-MS data, confirming a similar pattern and uniform distribution of 70Zn and Cd across the examined areas. Both applied techniques can be powerful tools for quantification (ICP-MS) and localisation and visualisation (NanoSIMS) of some ultra-trace isotopes in the intensively-dividing cells and fast-growing tissues of non-metalophytes even after short-term metal exposure. The results emphasise the importance of the quality of (agro)ecosystem resources (growing media, metal-contaminated soils/waters) in the public health risk, given that, even under low contamination and short-term exposure, some of the most toxic metallic ions (e.g., Cd) can relatively rapidly enter the human food chain.
Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering