Uptake and distribution of phenanthrene and pyrene in roots and shoots of maize (Zea mays L.)

  • Mahdieh Houshani
  • Seyed Yahya Salehi-LisarEmail author
  • Ruhollah Motafakkerazad
  • Ali Movafeghi
Research Article


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons as byproducts of carbon-based fuel combustion are an important group of pollutants with wide distribution in the environment. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are known as toxic compounds for almost all organisms. Different plant species can uptake polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons by roots and translocate them to various aerial parts. The aim of this study is to investigate the uptake, translocation, and accumulation of pyrene and phenanthrene in maize under controlled conditions. Seeds were cultivated in perlite containing 25, 50, 75, and 100 ppm of phenanthrene and pyrene, and their concentrations in the roots and shoots of the plants were measured using high-performance liquid chromatography technique after 7, 14, and 21 days. The results revealed that phenanthrene naturally existed in maize and its concentration showed a time-dependent decrease in shoots and roots. In contrast, the concentration of pyrene was increased in the roots and reduced in the shoots. Although pyrene had higher uptake than phenanthrene in roots of maize, the translocation factor value for pyrene was lower than for phenanthrene. According to these findings, phenanthrene could be metabolized in maize in the shoot and root tissues, but pyrene had more tendency to be accumulated in roots.


Maize Phenanthrene Pyrene Uptake Translocation Accumulation 



The authors are grateful to the Research Affairs of the University of Tabriz for financial and other supports and Dr. Roshanak Tarrahi for editing of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Plant Sciences, Faculty of Natural SciencesUniversity of TabrizTabrizIran

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