Understanding the partitioning and concentration of trace elements in the plant organs of some food crops: influence of the plant allometry and of the growth stage
Liñero Campo, Olaia
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This PhD Thesis has been carried out as a co-tutelle between the UPV/EHU and the University of Bordeaux, in the framework of the Cross-Border Euroregional Campus of International Excellence IdEx Bordeaux ¿ Euskampus. The work is focused on the accumulation of essential and non-essential elements, paying special attention to the edible part of the plants, in terms of food safety and human health. This Thesis work has been divided in two main parts: The first one is related to a field experiment performed in open-air plots, where Swiss chards and tomato plants were grown from seedlings to maturity in natural soil during five months, using organic or conventional agricultural practices. Plants were harvested at six different growth stages and the total concentrations of 27 elements were measured in all plant organs. The objective was to study the partitioning of the elements between the plant organs, depending on the plant age and on the cultivation practice. The second part of the Thesis is devoted to the understanding and modelling of the partitioning of Cd in sunflowers at the reproductive stages. Sunflowers were grown in a nutrient solution at low Cd availability consistent with that found in the field, from germination to maturity. During the reproductive period, five samplings were carried out to investigate the partitioning of the total Cd between plant organs and the origin of the Cd allocated to seeds (root uptake vs. remobilization from other plant organs). A the flower bud and grain filling stages, the partitioning of the Cd recently taken up between the different plant organs was followed and modelled by exposing several plants for three days to a 111Cd enriched nutrient solution. The roles of the transpiration and of the plant allometry were specially investigated.