Plant growth apart from being a complex and highly dynamic is dependent on its immediate environment. Leaf expansion measurements using Statistical Interferometry Technique, a sensitive interferometric technique at nanometric accuracy and at sub-second levels revealed the presence of characteristic nanometric intrinsic fluctuations [Plant Biotechnology 31, 195 (2014)]. In this paper, we demonstrate that the nanometric intrinsic fluctuations are sensitive enough that they change under exposure of heavy metals, essential micronutrient zinc and non-essential element cadmium, at relatively low concentrations in the leaves of Chinese chive (Allium tuberosum). The nanometric intrinsic fluctuations of leaves were observed for 4 h under three cadmium concentrations or two zinc concentrations. Results showed significant reduction of nanometric intrinsic fluctuations for all cadmium concentrations, and in contrast significant increase of nanometric intrinsic fluctuations for all zinc concentrations. There was significant reduction of nanometric intrinsic fluctuations for cadmium exposure of concentrations of 0.001 mM for even an hour, and significant increment of nanometric intrinsic fluctuations under 0.75 mM zinc from 1hr exposure. For comparison, antioxidative enzymes and metal uptake were also measured under 4hr exposure of cadmium or zinc. However, no significant changes could be seen in antioxidative enzymes within 4 h under the smaller concentration of 0.001 mM cadmium as seen for nanometric intrinsic fluctuations. The results imply that nanometric intrinsic fluctuations can be not only used as a measure for heavy metal stress but also it can be more sensitive to detect the toxic as well as positive effects of smaller amounts of heavy metal on plants at an early stage.
ASJC Scopus subject areas