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Ecophysiology of cadmium allocation to grains in durum wheat

Abstract : Cadmium (Cd) is a toxic element. Human activities have contaminated a wide range of agricultural soils. Most of Cd entering human bodies is through the dietary intake, and especially through staple food like cereals. Durum wheat naturally accumulates more Cd in its grains than other cereals. A significant fraction of the French durum wheat production has been found to exceed the European regulatory limit set for Cd. There is thus a need to reduce the accumulation of Cd in durum wheat grains. This thesis is dedicated to a better understanding of the ecophysiology of Cd allocation to the grains in durum wheat, with the ambition of helping to find agronomic strategies to reduce the Cd contamination level of durum wheat products.In first, we investigated the relationship between the aboveground partitioning of Cd and the shoot allometry. We hypothesized that the partitioning of shoot biomass between grains and straws is a driver of the allocation of Cd to the grains. Eight French durum wheat cultivars differing in their stem height were grown in presence of Cd. As expected, the main factor explaining the difference in their grain Cd was the shoot biomass partitioning. Cultivars allocating a higher proportion of their aerial biomass to the straws, i.e. long-stem cultivars, tended to accumulate less Cd in their grains because stems and leaves are sinks for Cd in competition with developing grains.Minerals imported into cereal grains originate from either direct post-anthesis root uptake or from the remobilization of pre-anthesis stores. The second part of this work was dedicated to determine the quantitative importance of these two pathways for Cd in durum wheat, and how their relative contribution vary between cultivars and with the level of nitrogen (N) supply. Stable isotopic labelling was used to trace the flux of Cd taken up post-anthesis. The impact of N supply was tested by depriving half of the plants of N after anthesis, in two cultivars showing a contrasted ability to accumulate Cd in their grains. The contribution of Cd remobilization was around 50%, which means that half of Cd in grains originated from Cd taken up pre-anthesis. Cd was remobilized from stems, possibly from roots, but not from leaves. The contribution of remobilization did not vary between the two cultivars so that no relationship between the pathway and the level of accumulation of Cd in grain was evidenced. Post-anthesis N deprivation triggered the remobilization of N without affecting that of Cd, which suggests that Cd remobilization is a senescent-independent process.In third, we investigated how the characteristics of Cd allocation to the grains was affected by the level of Cd exposure. [...]In last, we focused on how Cd was distributed within durum wheat grains. [...] This work provided the first map of Cd localization in durum wheat grains. Cd distribution was characterized by a strong accumulation of Cd in the crease and by a non-negligible dissemination in the starchy endosperm, as compared to Fe and Zn.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, December 11, 2018 - 10:03:06 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, September 22, 2021 - 10:17:37 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Tuesday, March 12, 2019 - 1:33:49 PM


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  • HAL Id : tel-01950846, version 1



Bo-Fang Yan. Ecophysiology of cadmium allocation to grains in durum wheat. Ecotoxicology. Université de Bordeaux, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018BORD0114⟩. ⟨tel-01950846⟩



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