Uptake and translocation of perfluoroalkyl acids with different carbon chain lengths (C2-C8) in wheat (Triticum acstivnm L.) under the effect of copper exposure.

Affiliation

Zhang L(1), Wang Q(2), Chen H(2), Yao Y(3), Sun H(2).
Author information:
(1)MOE Key Laboratory of Pollution Processes and Environmental Criteria, College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Nankai University, Tianjin, 300350, China; Laboratory for Earth Surface Process, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing, 100871, China.
(2)MOE Key Laboratory of Pollution Processes and Environmental Criteria, College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Nankai University, Tianjin, 300350, China.
(3)MOE Key Laboratory of Pollution Processes and Environmental Criteria, College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Nankai University, Tianjin, 300350, China. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

The co-contamination by perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) and heavy metals (HMs) is ubiquitous in the surface environment subjected to sewage irrigation and land application of sludge. However, the joint effects of HMs and PFAAs on plant roots are not well clarified. This study explored the root uptake and acropetal translocation behaviors of C2-C8 PFAAs by wheat (Triticum acstivnm L.) under the co-exposure of copper (Cu). The underlying uptake mechanisms of PFAAs were verified in a defective root system. The results showed that excessive Cu (100-400 μmol/L) damaged the cell membrane of wheat root to increase electrolytic leakage. In the defective root system, the root concentrations of PFAAs decreased by 6%-73% and the decrease rates were negatively associated with the carbon chain length of PFAAs. Along with the decrease in root concentrations of PFAAs, the amount of ultrashort-chain (C2-C3) and short-chain (C4-C6) PFAAs translocated to the shoot also decreased by 45%-84%. In contrast, the acropetal translocation of long-chain (C8) PFAAs, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), was enhanced under Cu exposure due to the increase in root permeability as observed by increased electrolytic leakage. The shoot concentrations of PFOA and PFOS under Cu exposure were up to 5.5 and 11 times higher than those in the control, respectively. These results suggested that PFOA and PFOS could enter wheat root more easily through the breaks caused by Cu exposure and thereby their acropetal transportation to shoot was enhanced. Therefore, the risk of plant accumulation of long-chain PFAAs can be potentially underestimated if without considering the co-contamination with HMs in the environment.