In order to evaluate the hormetic response of the weed Lythrum salicaria to drug exposure we investigated the effects of the antibiotic Sulfadimethoxine by growing Lythrum plants for 28 days on culture media containing different drug concentrations (between 0.005 and 50 mg.L(-1)). The antibiotic was absorbed by plants and can be found in plant tissue. The plant response was organ-dependent: roots, cotyledons and cotyledon petioles, were always affected by a toxic effect, whilst internodes and leaves length, showed a variable dose-depending response, with an increased growth at the lower drug concentrations and toxic effects at the higher ones. This variable response was probably dependant on different levels of local contamination resulting from a balance between accumulation rate and drug dilution in the increasing plant biomass. As a consequence, drug toxicity or hormetic response varied according to concentration and were different in each of the examined plant organ/tissue. Thus, even if hormesis can be considered a general plant response, each plant organ/tissue responds differently, depending on the local drug concentration and exposure time.
Keywords: Antibiotic; Hormesis; Lythrum salicaria; Phytotoxicity; Sulfadimethoxine; Weed.