Publication details

Mercury Content and Amelioration of Its Toxicity by Nitric Oxide in Lichens



Year of publication 2023
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source PLANTS-BASEL
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Medicine

Keywords antioxidants; biomonitoring; heavy metals; reactive oxygen species
Description Mercury (Hg) content measured in five epiphytic lichen species collected in Slovakia mountain forests ranged from 30 to 100 ng/g DW and was species-specific, decreasing in the order Hypogymnia > Pseudevernia > Usnea > Xanthoria > Evernia prunastri (but polluted sites had no impact on Hg amount in Xanthoria). Evernia was therefore used to study the impact of short-term exogenous Hg (100 mu M, 24 h) and possible amelioration of Hg toxicity by nitric oxide (NO) donor sodium nitroprusside (SNP). NO was efficiently released from SNP as detected by two staining reagents and fluorescence microscopy and reduced Hg-induced ROS signal and absorption of Hg by thalli of Evernia prunastri. At the same time, NO ameliorated Hg-induced depletion of metabolites such as ascorbic acid and non-protein thiols, but not of free amino acids. The amount of metabolites, including soluble phenols, was reduced by excess Hg per se. On the contrary, NO was unable to restore Hg-stimulated depletion of chlorophyll autofluorescence but mitigated the decline of some macronutrients (K and Ca). Data confirm that accumulation of Hg in the epiphytic lichens is species-specific and that NO is a vital molecule in Evernia prunastri that provides protection against Hg-induced toxicity with considerable positive impact on metabolic changes.

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