"It is still difficult to improve the problem of heavy metal pollution of arable land in China. Therefore, it is of great significance to utilize heavy metal polluted arable land efficiently and safely, and to guarantee the self-reliance and green safe agricultural products in China. This is also the original intention of our related research." Prof. Wang Zhiwei from School of Horticulture of Hainan University told the reporter of Science and Technology Daily.
Prof. Wang Zhiwei's team discovered a new method to improve the growth and development of peppers under heavy metal environments. It is understood that the annual cultivation area of peppers in China ranks first among vegetables, exceeding more than 30 million mu (1 mu = 666.67 square meters).
Prof. Wang Zhiwei introduced that the team discovered that 24-Epicastasterone can be used as a good growth promoter against hexavalent chromium stress through comparative experiments and histological techniques. 24-Epicastasterone improved the growth and development of peppers under hexavalent chromium stress by regulating the physiological and defense regulatory systems of plants under hexavalent chromium stress. Meanwhile, through physiological and transcriptomic analysis, Wang's team mined the related metabolic pathways and potential functional genes, which provided an important reference for the research on the molecular mechanism and technology of vegetable resistance to heavy metal stress.
Brassinosteroids is a highly efficient, broad-spectrum, non-toxic plant growth regulator that can help protect plants from unfavorable environmental influences. The effects of heavy metals, represented by hexavalent chromium, on the growth and safety of crops have received increasing attention in recent years, and the methods and mechanisms behind crop tolerance to heavy metal stress need to be studied urgently. The research findings of Wang's team provide new insights to promote the safe utilization of mildly heavy metal contaminated cropland and to increase the production of green and safe vegetables from such cropland.
Recently, the findings were published in Environmental Pollution, a renowned journal in the field of environment, under the title of "Physiological and transcriptomic insights into 24-Epicastasterone-mediated hexavalent chromium tolerance in peppers". Muhammad Ali Mumtaz, a postdoctoral fellow of the team, was the first author, and Prof. Zhiwei Wang was the corresponding author.