Anthropologic activities have transformed global biogeochemical cycling of heavy metals by emitting considerable quantities of these metals into the atmosphere from diverse sources. In spite of substantial and progressive developments in industrial processes and techniques to reduce environmental emissions, atmospheric contamination by toxic heavy metals and associated ecological and health risks are still newsworthy. Atmospheric heavy metals may be absorbed via foliar organs of plants after wet or dry deposition of atmospheric fallouts on plant canopy. Unlike root metal transfer, which has been largely studied, little is known about heavy metal uptake by plant leaves from the atmosphere. To the best of our understanding, significant research gaps exist regarding foliar heavy metal uptake. This is the first review regarding biogeochemical behaviour of heavy metals in atmosphere-plant system. The review summarizes the mechanisms involved in foliar heavy metal uptake, transfer, compartmentation, toxicity and in plant detoxification. We have described the biological and environmental factors that affect foliar uptake of heavy metals and compared the biogeochemical behaviour (uptake, translocation, compartmentation, toxicity and detoxification) of heavy metals for root and foliar uptake. The possible health risks associated with the consumption of heavy metal-laced food are also discussed.
Shahid, M, Dumat, C, Khalid, S, Schreck, E, Xiong, T & Niazi, NK 2017, 'Foliar heavy metal uptake, toxicity and detoxification in plants: A comparison of foliar and root metal uptake,' Journal of Hazardous Materials, vol. 325, pp. 36-58.
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