Alteration in growth and peroxidase activity by heavy metals in <i>Phaseolus</i> seedlings
The aim of the present work was to see the effect of mercury and chromium on elongation growth of phaseolus seedlings and changes in chlorophyll content. Phaseolus seedlings were treated with two different concentrations of two heavy metals viz. mercury (0.05 mM and 0.4 mM HgCl 2 , and chromium (0.5 mM and 1.0 mM K 2 Cr 2 O 7 ). Both mercury and chromium inhibited root and hypocotyl elongation growth. Changes in cytoplasmic and wall bound peroxidase activities were studied using guaiacol as a hydrogen donor. Peroxidase activity was higher in both mercury and chromium treated seedlings as compared to distilled water control; they showed a clear concentration effect. Peroxidase activity showed inverse relation with growth i.e. distilled water treated seedlings had maximum growth and minimum activity while higher concentration of heavy metal treated seedlings had minimum growth and maximum activity. Chlorophyll content was also decreased by mercury. The role of peroxidase activity in defense mechanism in response to heavy metal toxicity is discussed.