Cadmium toxicity in plants: Impacts and remediation strategies

Fasih Ullah Haider, Cai Liqun*, Jeffrey A. Coulter, Sardar Alam Cheema, Jun Wu, Renzhi Zhang, Ma Wenjun, Muhammad Farooq

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

517 Citations (Scopus)


Cadmium (Cd) is an unessential trace element in plants that is ubiquitous in the environment. Anthropogenic activities such as disposal of urban refuse, smelting, mining, metal manufacturing, and application of synthetic phosphate fertilizers enhance the concentration of Cd in the environment and are carcinogenic to human health. In this manuscript, we reviewed the sources of Cd contamination to the environment, soil factors affecting the Cd uptake, the dynamics of Cd in the soil rhizosphere, uptake mechanisms, translocation, and toxicity of Cd in plants. In crop plants, the toxicity of Cd reduces uptake and translocation of nutrients and water, increases oxidative damage, disrupts plant metabolism, and inhibits plant morphology and physiology. In addition, the defense mechanism in plants against Cd toxicity and potential remediation strategies, including the use of biochar, minerals nutrients, compost, organic manure, growth regulators, and hormones, and application of phytoremediation, bioremediation, and chemical methods are also highlighted in this review. This manuscript may help to determine the ecological importance of Cd stress in interdisciplinary studies and essential remediation strategies to overcome the contamination of Cd in agricultural soils.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111887
JournalEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
Publication statusPublished - Mar 15 2021


  • Cadmium
  • Mechanisms
  • Remediation
  • Sources
  • Toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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