Lead Toxicity in Cereals and Its Management Strategies: a Critical Review

  • Muhammad Rizwan
  • Shafaqat Ali
  • Muhammad Zia ur Rehman
  • Muhammad Rizwan Javed
  • Arooj Bashir


Cereal grains such as wheat, rice, and maize are widely consumed as a staple food worldwide. Lead (Pb) is one of the non-essential trace elements and its toxicity in crops especially cereals is a widespread problem. The present review highlighted Pb toxicity in cereal and management strategies to reduce its uptake in plants. Lead toxicity reduced the cereal growth, photosynthesis, nutritional value, yield, and grain quality. The response of cereals to excess varies with plant species, levels of Pb in soil, and growth conditions. Reducing Pb bioavailability in the soil is a viable approach due to its non-degradability either by microbes, chemicals, or other means. Cultivation of low Pb-accumulating cultivars may reduce the risk of Pb toxicity in plants and humans via the food chain. Use of plant growth regulators, microbes, organic, and inorganic amendments might be promising techniques for further decreasing Pb contents in shoot and grains. Soil amendments along with selecting low Pb-accumulating cultivars might be a feasible approach to get cereal grains with low Pb concentrations. Furthermore, most of the studies have been conducted under controlled conditions either in hydroponic or pots and less is known about the effects of Pb management approaches under ambient field conditions.


Food security Lead Cereals Biochar Agricultural practices Inorganic amendments Silicon 



Financial support from Government College, University Faisalabad is gratefully acknowledged.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental Sciences and EngineeringGovernment College UniversityFaisalabadPakistan
  2. 2.Institute of Soil and Environmental SciencesUniversity of AgricultureFaisalabadPakistan
  3. 3.Department of Bioinformatics & BiotechnologyGovernment College UniversityFaisalabadPakistan

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