Relationships of nicotianamine and other amino acids with nickel, zinc and iron in Thlaspi hyperaccumulators

Damien L. Callahan, Spas D. Kolev, Richard A. J. O'Hair, David E. Salt, Alan J. M. Baker

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71 Citations (Scopus)


center dot Experimental evidence suggests that nicotianamine (NA) is involved in the complexation of metal ions in some metal-hyperaccumulating plants.

center dot Closely-related nickel (Ni)-and zinc (Zn)-hyperaccumulating species were studied to determine whether a correlation exists between the Ni and Zn concentrations and NA in foliar tissues.

center dot A liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) procedure was developed to quantify the NA and amino acid contents using the derivatizing agent 6-aminoquinolyl-N-hydroxysuccinimidyl carbamate. A strong correlation emerged between Ni and NA, but not between Zn and NA. Concentrations of NA and L-histidine (His) also increased in response to higher Ni concentrations in the hydroponic solution supplied to a serpentine population of Thlaspi caerulescens. An inversely proportional correlation was found between the iron (Fe) and Ni concentrations in the leaves. Correlations were also found between Zn and asparagine.

center dot The results obtained in this study suggest that NA is involved in hyperaccumulation of Ni but not Zn. The inverse proportionality between the Ni and Fe concentrations in the leaf may suggest that Ni and Fe compete for complexation to NA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)836-848
Number of pages13
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number4
Early online date26 Sep 2007
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007


  • amino acid
  • hyperaccumulator
  • liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS)
  • nickel
  • nicotianamine
  • Thlaspi
  • tomato mutant chloronerva
  • performance liquid-chromatography
  • ray-absorption spectroscopy
  • metal-complex formation
  • normalizing factor
  • sebertia-acuminata
  • possible phytosiderophore
  • mass-spectrometry
  • wild-type
  • caerluscens


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