Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 36, pp 36328–36340 | Cite as

Low root/shoot (R/S) biomass ratio can be an indicator of low cadmium accumulation in the shoot of Chinese flowering cabbage (Brassica campestris L. ssp. chinensis var. utilis Tsen et Lee) cultivars

  • Zhi-Min Xu
  • Xiu-Qin Mei
  • Ling Tan
  • Qu-Sheng LiEmail author
  • Li-Li Wang
  • Bao-Yan He
  • Shi-Hong Guo
  • Chu Zhou
  • Han-Jie Ye
Research Article


Chinese flowering cabbage is a commonly consumed vegetable that accumulates Cd easily from Cd-contaminated soils. Cultivations of low-Cd cultivars are promising strategies for food safety, but low-Cd-accumulating mechanisms are not fully elucidated. To address this issue, 37 cultivars were screened to identify high- and low-Cd cultivars upon exposure to sewage-irrigated garden soil pretreated with different Cd concentrations (1.81, 2.90, and 3.70 mg kg−1dry soil). The results showed that shoot Cd concentrations differed among the cultivars by maximum degrees of 2.67-, 3.71-, and 3.00-fold under control and treatments, respectively. Soil-pot trial and hydroponic trial found no significant difference in Cd and Ca mobilization, uptake, and transport ability by root per weight between high- and low-Cd cultivars. Interestingly, a stable R/S ratio difference among cultivars (p < 0.01) was observed, and the cultivar variation of Cd accumulation in shoots was mainly dependent on their R/S ratios. R/S ratio was also statistically positively associated with Cd and Ca accumulation in high- and low-Cd cultivars (p < 0.05), both in soil and hydroponics culture. This was mainly due to the lower root biomass of low-Cd cultivars resulted in lower total release of root exudates, lower total Cd and Ca mobilization in rhizosphere soil, and lower total Cd and Ca uptake and transport. The higher shoot biomass of low-Cd cultivars also has dilution effects on Cd concentration in shoot. Overall, low R/S ratio may be regarded as a direct and efficient indicator of low Cd accumulation in the shoot of Chinese flowering cabbage. These findings provided the possibilities to screening low-Cd cultivars using their R/S ratio.


Low-Cd cultivars R/S biomass ratio Cd mobilization Cd uptake and translocation Ca channel 



The authors are grateful to the National Key Research Project of China (No.2017YFD0801305), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41371321), and the Department of Science and Technology of Guangdong Province, China (No. 2017A010105005) for their financial support.

Supplementary material

11356_2018_3566_MOESM1_ESM.doc (4.4 mb)
ESM 1 (DOC 4463 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhi-Min Xu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xiu-Qin Mei
    • 1
  • Ling Tan
    • 1
  • Qu-Sheng Li
    • 1
    Email author
  • Li-Li Wang
    • 1
  • Bao-Yan He
    • 1
  • Shi-Hong Guo
    • 1
  • Chu Zhou
    • 1
  • Han-Jie Ye
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Environment, Key Laboratory of Environmental Pollution and Health of Guangdong ProvinceJinan UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of EcologyJinan UniversityGuangzhouChina

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