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Advances in Cotton Tolerance to Heavy Metal Stress and Applications to Remediate Heavy Metal-Contaminated Farmland Soil

Ling Li*, Xuyu Yan, Juan Li, Yashan Tian, Pan Ren

Shaanxi Key Laboratory of Chinese Jujube, College of Life Sicence, Yan’an University, Yan’an, 716000, China

* Corresponding Author: Ling Li. Email:

Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany 2021, 90(1), 35-50.


Heavy metal-contaminated soil is one of the major environmental pollution problems of agricultural production and human health in the world. Remediation of heavy metals in soil is one of the most popular research subjects. Different remediation strategies have been reported to remove heavy metals from contaminated soil, among which phytoremediation is the most important one. Compared with other major crops, cotton shows the strongest and most widespread resistance to abiotic stresses, such as heavy metals. Although heavy metal stress adversely affects the growth and development of cotton, cotton possesses a set of sophisticated stress-resistance strategies. As the main product of cotton is nonedible fibers, which have a large biomass and strong heavy metal absorption and enrichment capacities, cotton is an ideal crop to restore heavy metal-contaminated soils and has unique advantages in terms of both ecological and economic benefits, with great application prospects. In this review, based on domestic and foreign research results in recent years, the effects of heavy metals on cotton growth and product quality were analyzed, the heavy metal absorption, accumulation, translocation and enrichment characteristics of cotton plants were summarized, and the adaptation and tolerance mechanisms of cotton to heavy metals were explored. Furthermore, the view that cotton is an effective crop to remediate heavy metal pollution in farmland soil has been proposed, and popularization and application suggestions for planting cotton to repair heavy metal pollution have been put forward to provide a reference for the comprehensive evaluation of the economic feasibility of cotton to repair heavy metal pollution in farmland soil.


Cite This Article

Li, L., Yan, X., Li, J., Tian, Y., Ren, P. (2021). Advances in Cotton Tolerance to Heavy Metal Stress and Applications to Remediate Heavy Metal-Contaminated Farmland Soil. Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany, 90(1), 35–50.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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