Impact of heavy metal stress on plants and the role of various defense elements

Document Type : Reviews


1 Department of Bioresources, University of Kashmir, Srinagar 190006, Jammu and Kashmir, India

2 Department of Zoology, Amar Singh College, Cluster University, Srinagar (J&K)



Heavy metal (HMs) pollution is currently one of the serious issues for the environment and agriculture as it has a direct impact on the production yield. This situation has gained a rapid momentum in the present era due to the population pressure, industrialization, and various anthropogenic activities which in turn lead to oxidative stress in plants and thus disturbs the redox homeostasis and ultimately affects the crop yield. However, plants possess a different regulatory system that work in a synergetic manner to combat stress and thus adapt themselves in such contaminated soils. These act as sinks to neutralize the toxic effects of these heavy metals by chelation, sequestration, and intensification of enzyme system. Excessive stress induces a cascade, MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase) pathway and biosynthesis of metal detoxifying ligands. The understanding of detoxification mechanism of metal ions through MAPK cascade and biosynthesis of metal-detoxifying ligands is an interesting way for searching insights and outlook in the field of plant biotechnology. Here, we discuss the impact of heavy metals on plants and the role of different regulatory elements that play a prominent role in metal detoxification.