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Phytotoxicity and oxidative effects of typical quaternary ammonium compounds on wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) seedlings

  • Yafei Li
  • Can Zhou
  • Shizhong Wang
  • Qingqi LinEmail author
  • Zhuobiao Ni
  • Hao Qiu
  • Jean Louis Morel
  • Rongliang Qiu
Research Article
  • 21 Downloads

Abstract

The large-scale use of quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs) in medicines or disinfectants can lead to their release into the environment, posing a potential risk to organisms. This study examined the effects of three typical QACs, dodecyltrimethylammonium chloride (DTAC), dodecyldimethylbenzylammonium chloride (DBAC), and didodecyldimethylammonium chloride (DDAC), on hydroponically cultured wheat seedlings. After 14 days of exposure, both hormesis and phytotoxicity were observed in the wheat seedlings. The shoot and root fresh weight gradually increased as QAC concentrations rose from 0.05 to 0.8 mg L−1. However, higher QAC concentrations severely inhibited plant growth by decreasing shoot and root fresh weight, total root length, and photosynthetic pigment content. Moreover, the increase in malondialdehyde and O2.- contents, as well as root membrane permeability, reflected an oxidative burst and membrane lipid peroxidation caused by QACs. However, the effects of QACs on the levels of these oxidative stress markers were compound-specific, and the changes in superoxide dismutase, peroxidases, and catalase activity were partly related to reactive oxygen species levels. Considering the order of median effective concentration values (EC50) and the levels of oxidative stress induced by the three tested QACs, their phytotoxicities in wheat seedlings increased in the following order: DDAC < DTAC < DBAC, which mainly depended on their characteristics and applied concentrations. These results, which illustrated the complexity of QAC toxicity to plants, could potentially be used to assess the risk posed by these compounds in the environment.

Keywords

Quaternary ammonium compounds Phytotoxicity Oxidative stress Antioxidant enzyme activity Wheat seedlings 

Notes

Funding

This study was supported by the National Key R&D Program of China (No. 2018YFD0800700), the 111 Project (No. B18060), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41671313, 41703098 and 41471020), the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation Grant (No. 2017 M622868), and the Research Fund Program of Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Environmental Pollution Control and Remediation Technology (No. 2016 K0005).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Research involving human participants and/or animals

This research does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

11356_2019_5822_MOESM1_ESM.docx (701 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 701 kb)

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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Environmental Science and EngineeringSun Yat-Sen UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Environmental Pollution Control and Remediation Technology (Sun Yat-Sen University)GuangzhouChina
  3. 3.Guangdong Provincial Engineering Research Center for Heavy Metal Contaminated Soil Remediation (Sun Yat-Sen University)GuangzhouChina
  4. 4.School of Geography and PlanningSun Yat-Sen UniversityGuangzhouChina
  5. 5.School of Environmental Science and EngineeringShanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiChina
  6. 6.Laboratoire Sols et Environnement INRAUniversité de LorraineNancy CédexFrance

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