Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 18, pp 18003–18016 | Cite as

Copper environmental toxicology, recent advances, and future outlook: a review

  • Muzammal Rehman
  • Lijun LiuEmail author
  • Qin Wang
  • Muhammad Hamzah Saleem
  • Saqib Bashir
  • Sana Ullah
  • Dingxiang Peng
Review Article


Copper (Cu) is one of the micronutrients needed by living organisms. In plants, Cu plays key roles in chlorophyll formation, photosynthesis, respiratory electron transport chains, oxidative stress protection as well as protein, carbohydrate, and cell wall metabolism. Therefore, deficiency of Cu can alter various functions of plant metabolism. However, Cu-based agrochemicals have traditionally been used in agriculture and being excessively released into the environment by anthropogenic activities. Continuous and extensive release of Cu is an imperative issue with various documented cases of phytotoxicity by the overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and damage to carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and DNA. The mobility of Cu from soil to plant tissues has several concerns including its adverse effects on humans. In this review, we have described about importance and occurrence of Cu in environment, Cu homeostasis and toxicity in plants as well as remediation and progress in research so far done worldwide in the light of previous findings. Furthermore, present review provides a comprehensive ecological risk assessment on Cu in soils and thus provides insights for agricultural soil management and protection.


: Copper Environmental toxicity Homeostasis Remediation Research advancements 



This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31571717) and China Agriculture Research System project (CARS-16-E12).


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

Authors and Affiliations

  • Muzammal Rehman
    • 1
  • Lijun Liu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Qin Wang
    • 1
  • Muhammad Hamzah Saleem
    • 1
  • Saqib Bashir
    • 2
  • Sana Ullah
    • 1
  • Dingxiang Peng
    • 1
  1. 1.MOA Key Laboratory of Crop Ecophysiology and Farming System in the Middle Reaches of the Yangtze River, College of Plant Science and TechnologyHuazhong Agricultural UniversityWuhanPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of soil and environmental scienceGhazi UniversityDera Ghazi KhanPakistan

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