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Malic acid as a chelating agent



Type of Spiritual Experience


My logic may be faulty here, which, if it is I apologise, but at least you can see the basis on which I have made the link.

Scientists have found that the plants containing malic acid can be used to remove heavy metals and other metals from contaminated soils.  The malic acid appears to be key to the process.

There appear to be other papers on pubmed that then make the link that says that perhaps fruit can remove the heavy metals in us too.   In effect, malic acid containing fruit can 'chelate' us.

This may be a double edged sword in that if the plants are in contaminated soils the fruit will be affected and we may get heavy metal poisoning from the fruit, but the paper below seems to suggest that all the toxins accumulate in the leaves not the fruit.


A description of the experience

Planta. 2012 Aug;236(2):477-89. doi: 10.1007/s00425-012-1621-2. Epub 2012 Mar 13. Natural variation among Arabidopsis accessions reveals malic acid as a key mediator of Nickel (Ni) tolerance. Agrawal B, Lakshmanan V, Kaushik S, Bais HP. Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, USA.

Plants have evolved various mechanisms for detoxification that are specific to the plant species as well as the metal ion chemical properties.

Malic acid, which is commonly found in plants, participates in a number of physiological processes including metal chelation. Using natural variation among Arabidopsis accessions, we investigated the function of malic acid in Nickel (Ni) tolerance and detoxification.

The Ni-induced production of reactive oxygen species was found to be modulated by intracellular malic acid, indicating its crucial role in Ni detoxification. Ni tolerance in Arabidopsis may actively involve malic acid and/or complexes of Ni and malic acid.

Investigation of malic acid content in roots among tolerant ecotypes suggested that a complex of Ni and malic acid may be involved in translocation of Ni from roots to leaves. The exudation of malic acid from roots in response to Ni treatment in either susceptible or tolerant plant species was found to be partially dependent on AtALMT1 expression. A lower concentration of Ni (10 µM) treatment induced AtALMT1 expression in the Ni-tolerant Arabidopsis ecotypes. We found that the ecotype Santa Clara (S.C.) not only tolerated Ni but also accumulated more Ni in leaves compared to other ecotypes.

Thus, the ecotype S.C. can be used as a model system to delineate the biochemical and genetic basis of Ni tolerance, accumulation, and detoxification in plants. The evolution of Ni hyperaccumulators, which are found in serpentine soils, is an interesting corollary to the fact that S.C. is also native to serpentine soils.

PMID: 22411507

The source of the experience


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