We characterized the absorption and short-term translocation of cadmium (Cd) in rice (Oryza sativa ‘Nipponbare’) quantitatively using serial images observed with a positron-emitting tracer imaging system. We fed a positron-emitting 107Cd (half-life of 6.5 h) tracer to the hydroponic culture solution and noninvasively obtained serial images of Cd distribution in intact rice plants at the vegetative stage and at the grain-filling stage every 4 min for 36 h. The rates of absorption of Cd by the root were proportional to Cd concentrations in the culture solution within the tested range of 0.05 to 100 nM. It was estimated that the radial transport from the culture to the xylem in the root tissue was completed in less than 10 min. Cd moved up through the shoot organs with velocities of a few centimeters per hour at both stages, which was obviously slower than the bulk flow in the xylem. Finally, Cd arrived at the panicles 7 h after feeding and accumulated there constantly, although no Cd was observed in the leaf blades within the initial 36 h. The nodes exhibited the most intensive Cd accumulation in the shoot at both stages, and Cd transport from the basal nodes to crown root tips was observed at the vegetative stage. We conclude that the nodes are the central organ where xylem-to-phloem transfer takes place and play a pivotal role in the half-day travel of Cd from the soil to the grains at the grain-filling stage.
Plant Physiology (2010) 152: 1796-1806 [doi: 10.1104/pp.109.151035]