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  • 1 Agricultural Research Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences Martonvásár, Hungary
  • 2 Agricultural Research Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences Martonvásár, Hungary
  • 3 Agricultural Research Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences Martonvásár, Hungary
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On areas used for agriculture copper toxicity is one of the most important forms of heavy metal pollution, especially where field crops are to be grown in fields previously used as orchards or vineyards, treated for a long period with pesticides containing copper. Only varieties with good tolerance of soil with a high copper content should be grown on such areas. The selection of copper-tolerant varieties is complicated, however, by the fact that it is difficult to study copper tolerance under field conditions. Heavy metal tolerance is generally tested in hydroponic cultures, in which interfering factors can be minimised, but it is impossible to test a large number of genotypes or segregating generations using this method. Another problem in such experiments is that the conditions existing in hydroponic cultures bear little resemblance to those found in the field, so little information is obtained on the real adaptation of the varieties. The aim of the present experiments was thus to elaborate a soil-based technique suitable for determining the copper tolerance of various genotypes and allowing the simultaneous testing of a large number of genotypes under conditions approaching those found in the field. The results indicate that the copper tolerance of seedlings can be determined by growing them to an age of 2 weeks in soil containing 1000-1500 mg/kg CuSO4 × 5 H2O, since genetic differences in copper tolerance could be clearly distinguished under these conditions. The copper tolerance of plants grown in copper-containing soil exhibited a close correlation with the results obtained in physiological tests in hydroponic culture.

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