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Associate Professor Robert Reid
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Reducing the Concentration of Arsenic in Grain
Arsenic is highly toxic to all organisms and is ingested as a contaminant of food and drinking water. Rice accumulates much higher amounts of arsenic than other crops because of the way it is grown in flooded anaerobic conditions that make soil arsenic more amenable for plant uptake. Rice is the staple for a large proportion of the global population and high levels of arsenic in rice can lead to a serious decline in health when consumed over a long period. Inorganic arsenic is a human carcinogen with no known threshold and can lead to cancers of the lungs, bladder and kidneys with a latency of more than a decade (WHO 2001).
Current research focusses on ways to reduce the concentration of arsenic in grain by examining he pathways for uptake and redistribution of arsenic in plants, and the mechanisms that operate in low arsenic accumulating plants to restrict arsenic movement to the grain.
Mechanisms of Heavy Metal Uptake and Transport in Plants
Heavy metals constitute a significant risk to human health yet little is known about the important factors that determine uptake and distribution of heavy metals in plants. Current projects are exploring the physiological and genomic bases for the accumulation of cadmium in rice.
Boron Toxicity and Tolerance
Boron is an essential plant nutrient that becomes toxic at high concentrations. We have recently made significant progress in understanding how boron is taken up by plants, and how tolerant plants are able to detoxify excess boron. Genomic approaches have revealed that boron can enter plant cells through aquaglyceroporins (see Fitzpatrick and Reid 2009). In 2004 it was reported that boron tolerant cultivars of barley were able to efflux excess B from their roots, thereby reducing boron transport to the shoot and shoot toxicity (see Hayes and Reid 2004). The genes encoding the efflux transporters in wheat and barley were cloned (Reid 2007) from roots, and more recently it has been shown that the expression of these transporters in leaves has a major impact in reducing leaf toxicity (Reid and Fitzpatrick 2009).
Phytoremediation of Acid Sulphate Soils
Acid sulphate soils are soils that contain high concentration of sulphide minerals. When exposed to the atmosphere by activities such as mining, or by exposure of submerged sediments by drought or hydrological changes, the sulphide minerals become oxidised and generate sulphuric acid. Few terrestrial and aquatic plants, and aquatic animals, are able to live in conditions that are highly acidic for long periods. Various mechanisms have been trialled for reducing the oxidation of acid sulphate soils, one of which is the use of plants to either reduce the infiltration of oxygen into the soil, or to prevent soil cracking which greatly increases the surface area exposed for oxidation. We are currently evaluating the effectivness of plants to reduce acidification in the Murray River and the Lower Lakes of South Australia.
Recent Journal Articles
Rodda M, Reid R (2013) Examination of the role of iron deficiency response in the accumulation of Cd by rice grown in paddy soil with variable irrigation regimes. Plant and Soil: 1-18
Reid R, Gridley K, Kawamata Y, Zhu Y (2013) Arsenite Elicits Anomalous Sulfur Starvation Responses in Barley. Plant Physiology 162: 401-409
Nagai M, Ohnishi M, Uehara T, Yamagami M, Miura E, Kamakura MAI, Kitamura A, Sakaguchi S-I, Sakamoto W, Shimmen T, Fukaki H, Reid RJ, Furukawa A, Mimura T (2013) Ion gradients in xylem exudate and guttation fluid related to tissue ion levels along primary leaves of barley. Plant, Cell & Environment: in press
Reid R (2013) Boron toxicity and tolerance in crop plants. In N Tuteja, S Gill, eds, Crop Improvement Under Adverse Conditions, Ch 15. Springer, New York
Rodda M, Li G, Reid R (2011) The timing of grain Cd accumulation in rice plants: the relative importance of remobilisation within the plant and root Cd uptake post-flowering. Plant and Soil 347: 105-114
Reid R, Butcher C (2011) Positive and negative impacts of plants on acid production
Bone EK, Reid RJ (2011) Prior learning in biology at high school does not predict performance in the first year at university. Higher Education Research & Development 30: 709-724
Stangoulis J, Tate M, Graham RD, Bucknall M, Palmer L, Boughton B, Reid R (2010) The presence of borate-sucrose complexes in phloem may explain boron mobility in canola and wheat. Plant Physiology 153: 876-881
Reid R (2010) Can we really increase yields by making crop plants tolerant to boron toxicity? Plant Science 178: 9-11
Fitzpatrick K, Reid R (2010) The ever expanding role of aquaglyceroporins. Confirmation of the protein-facilitated boron transport. Plant Signaling & Behaviour 5: 1-3
Fitzpatrick KL, Reid RJ (2009) The involvement of aquaglyceroporins in transport of boron in barley roots. Plant, Cell and Environment, 32: 1357-1365
Reid RJ, Fitzpatrick KL (2009) Influence of leaf tolerance mechanisms and rain on boron toxicity in barley and wheat. Plant Physiology : 151:413-420.
Yermiyahu U, Ben-Gal A, Keren R, Reid RJ (2008) Combined effect of salinity and excess boron on plant growth and yield. Plant and Soil 304: 73-87
Zhang X-H, Lin A-J, Gao Y-L, Reid RJ, Wong M-H, Zhu Y-G (2009) Arbuscular mycorrhizal colonisation increases copper binding capacity of root cell walls of Oryza sativa L. and reduces copper uptake. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 41: 930–935
Lavery TJ, Butterfield N, Kemper CM, Reid RJ, Sanderson K (2008) Metals and selenium in the liver and bone of three dolphin species from South Australia, 1988-2004. Science of The Total Environment 390: 77-85
Reid RJ (2007) Identification of boron transporter genes likely to be responsible for tolerance to boron toxicity in wheat and barley. Plant Cell Physiol. 48: 1673-1678
Mitsuhashi N, Ohnishi M, Sekiguchi Y, Kwon Y-U, Chang Y-T, Chung S-K, Inoue Y, Reid RJ, Yagisawa H, Mimura T (2005) Phytic acid synthesis and vacuolar accumulation in suspension-cultured cells induced cells of Catharanthus roseus induced by high concentrations of Pi and cations. Plant Physiology 138: 1607-14
Reid RJ, Yermiyahu U. (2005). Measuring uptake of micronutrient and heavy metals in plants: problems and solutions. In Plant Nutrition for Food Security, Human Health and Environmental Protection, ed. CJ Li, FS Zhang, A Doberman, P Hinsinger, XL Li, et al, pp. 26-7. Beijing: Tsinghua University Press
Reid RJ, Hayes JE, Post A, Stangoulis JCR, Graham RD (2004) A critical analysis of the causes of boron toxicity in plants. Plant Cell and Environment 25, 1405-1414
Reid RJ, Liu J (2004) Measurement of trace metal influx in plants: a case study using Co. Functional Plant Biology 31, 941-947
Hayes JE, Reid RJ (2004) Boron tolerance in barley is mediated by efflux of B from the roots. Plant Physiology 136, 3376-3382.
Hayes JE, Zhu Y, Mimura T, Reid RJ (2004) An assessment of the usefulness of solution culture in screening for phosphorus efficiency in wheat. Plant and Soil 261, 91-97
Reid R (2007) Update on boron toxicity and tolerance in plants. In F Xu, H Godbach, PH Brown, R Bell, T Fujiwara, C Hunt, S Goldberg, L Shi, eds, Advances in Plant and Animal Boron Nutrition. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 83-92
Reid RJ (2009) Movement Across Membranes. In B Evans, P Ladiges, R Saint, eds, Biology: An Australian Focus, Ed 4 Ch. 4 In press
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Last Modified 16/08/2012 M&SC
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