Stress-related phenomena and detoxification mechanisms induced by common pharmaceuticals in alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) plants
SourceScience of the Total Environment
Google Scholar check
MetadataShow full item record
Pharmaceutically active compounds (PhACs) have been recently shown to exert phytotoxic effects. The present study explores the uptake, systemic translocation, and abiotic stress responses and detoxification mechanisms induced by the exposure of alfalfa plants grown in sand under greenhouse conditions to four common, individually applied PhACs (10μgL−1) (diclofenac, sulfamethoxazole, trimethoprim, 17a-ethinylestradiol) and their mixture. Stress physiology markers (lipid peroxidation, proline, H2O2 and NO content, antioxidant activity assays) and gene expression levels of key plant detoxification components (including glutathione S-transferases, GST7, GST17superoxide dismutases, CuZnSOD, FeSODproton pump, H+-ATP, and cytochrome c oxidase, CytcOx), were evaluated. PhACs were detected in significantly higher concentrations in roots compared with leaves. Stress related effects, manifested via membrane lipid peroxidation and oxidative burst, were local (roots) rather than systemic (leaves), and exacerbated when the tested PhACs were applied in mixture. Systemic accumulation of H2O2 in leaves suggests its involvement in signal transduction and detoxification responses. Increased antioxidant enzymatic activities, as well as upregulated transcript levels of GST7, GST17, H+-ATPase and CytcOx, propose their role in the detoxification of the selected PhACs in plants. The current findings provide novel biochemical and molecular evidence highlighting the studied PhACs as an emerging abiotic stress factor, and point the need for further research on wastewater flows under natural agricultural environments.•PhACs were detected in higher concentrations in roots compared with leaves.•Stress effects were local and exacerbated when PhACs were applied in mixture.•H2O2 may be involved in signal transduction and detoxification responses.•GSTs, H+-ATPase and CytcOx contribute to the detoxification of PhACs in plants.•Results render studied PhACs as an emerging abiotic stress factor.