Cadmium stress in rice: toxic effects, tolerance mechanisms, and management: a critical review

Muhammad Rizwan, Shafaqat Ali, Muhammad Adrees, Hina Rizvi, Muhammad Zia-ur-Rehman, Fakhir Hannan, Muhammad Farooq Qayyum, Farhan Hafeez, Yong Sik Ok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

532 Citations (Scopus)


Cadmium (Cd) is one of the main pollutants in paddy fields, and its accumulation in rice (Oryza sativa L.) and subsequent transfer to food chain is a global environmental issue. This paper reviews the toxic effects, tolerance mechanisms, and management of Cd in a rice paddy. Cadmium toxicity decreases seed germination, growth, mineral nutrients, photosynthesis, and grain yield. It also causes oxidative stress and genotoxicity in rice. Plant response to Cd toxicity varies with cultivars, growth condition, and duration of Cd exposure. Under Cd stress, stimulation of antioxidant defense system, osmoregulation, ion homeostasis, and over production of signaling molecules are important tolerance mechanisms in rice. Several strategies have been proposed for the management of Cd-contaminated paddy soils. One such approach is the exogenous application of hormones, osmolytes, and signaling molecules. Moreover, Cd uptake and toxicity in rice can be decreased by proper application of essential nutrients such as nitrogen, zinc, iron, and selenium in Cd-contaminated soils. In addition, several inorganic (liming and silicon) and organic (compost and biochar) amendments have been applied in the soils to reduce Cd stress in rice. Selection of low Cd-accumulating rice cultivars, crop rotation, water management, and exogenous application of microbes could be a reasonable approach to alleviate Cd toxicity in rice. To draw a sound conclusion, long-term field trials are still required, including risks and benefit analysis for various management strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17859-17879
Number of pages21
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Sept 1
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Financial support from Government College University Faisalabad is gratefully acknowledged. This work was also supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government (NRF-2015R1A2A2A11001432).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


  • Agricultural practices
  • Amendments
  • Antioxidant enzymes
  • Essential nutrients
  • Food security
  • Growth and yield
  • Reactive oxygen species

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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