Seed germination and post germination events are complex physiological processes which can be seriously affected by heavy metals. Cadmium (Cd) is an environmental pollutant extremely toxic to plants and other living organisms including humans. To assess Cd phytotoxicity, pea seeds (Pisum sativum L. var. douce province) were germinated in distilled water or 200 µM CdCl2. Cadmium treatment induces a deleterious inhibition in embryonic axis growth by limiting the biomass transfer from cotyledons, particularly the hydrolysis of the major storage proteins and, thereby, the amino acids freeing. The electrophoretic analysis of albumins and globulins showed that heavy metal alters the breakdown of 33 and 19 kDa polypeptides (alkaline legumin and small vicilin, respectively), as well as other peptides (17-19 kDa) which may be produced by a previous hydrolysis of albumins.
Key words: Albumin, amino acid, cadmium, germination, globulin, Pisum sativum L.
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