Oxidative Stress of Alligator Weed and Watercress Plants

Daniel Adams, Ginger Bailey, and Dr. Christopher Beals, Department of Science and Mathematics, Abraham Baldwin Agriculture College, 2802 Moore Hwy Box 15, Tifton, GA 31739

The aim for these experiments is to compare the oxidative stress of Watercress (Nasturtium officinale) to Alligator Weed (Alternanthera philoxeroides) and to determine which plant can absorb a higher concentration of heavy metals before macroscopic evidence of stress is evident. Heavy metals can be found naturally in the environment, and though they are naturally occurring, many can be toxic at low concentrations. Runoff can lead to bioaccumulation and biomagnification of heavy metals from industrial and agriculture practices into lakes and other aquatic systems. Plants, like watercress, are bioindicators found only in aquatic systems with relatively good water quality. Alligator Weed, on the other hand, is an invasive plant from South America that has exploited freshwater systems throughout the southeast United States and is tolerant of moderate aquatic pollution.  Alligator Weed cuttings were collected from Baldwin Lake on the ABAC campus, and the watercress seeds were bought online and germinated in a hydroponic system. Both species of plants were placed in beakers with 1, 5, and 10 ppm silver, copper, and lead in separate exposures. After exposures, plants were crushed to liberate antioxidant enzymes, which were measured with the Glomax 2020 Benchtop Luminometer, and metal concentrations remaining in the beakers was measured using Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP). Both plants were able to absorb heavy metals, and watercress exhibited increased antioxidant enzyme production compared to Alligator Weed.   

Additional Abstract Information

Presenters: Daniel Adams, Ginger Bailey

Institution: Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College

Type: Poster

Subject: Biology

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 2
Date/Time: Mon 3:00pm-4:00pm
Session Number: 2663