Cytotoxic and genotoxic effects of metal(oid)s bioactivated in rocket leaves (Eruca vesicaria subsp. sativa Miller)

Chemosphere. 2013 Nov;93(10):2554-61. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2013.09.071. Epub 2013 Oct 22.


Rocket is an important source of essential elements. However, it may also accumulate toxic elements such as metal(oids). The objectives of the present work were (i) to study the uptake of arsenic, lead, cadmium and zinc in rocket grown in contaminated soils, (ii) to establish the genotoxic and cytotoxic activities of this vegetable material, and (iii) to study the modulator role of the glucosinolate and metal contents in the genotoxic/cytotoxic activities. Lead, cadmium and zinc leaf concentrations in our study were over the concentrations allowed by the statutory limit set for metal(oid) contents in vegetables. The accessions were non genotoxic at the different concentrations studied, although one of the accessions showed the highest mutation rates doubling those of negative control. The cytotoxicity assays with HL60 human leukaemia cells showed that the tumouricide activities of rocket leaves decreased with the increasing of metal(oid) concentrations and also with the decreasing of glucosinolate concentrations in their tissues. An interaction between metal(oid)s and glucosinolate degradation products contained in rocket leaves is suggested as the main modulator agents of the biological activity of the plants grown in metal-contaminated soils.

Keywords: Arsenic; Cadmium; Glucosinolate; In vivo; Lead; Toxicity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arsenic / metabolism
  • Arsenic / toxicity
  • Brassicaceae / metabolism*
  • Glucosinolates / metabolism
  • HL-60 Cells
  • Humans
  • Metals / metabolism
  • Metals / toxicity*
  • Mutagens / toxicity
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism*
  • Soil Pollutants / metabolism
  • Soil Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Toxicity Tests


  • Glucosinolates
  • Metals
  • Mutagens
  • Soil Pollutants
  • Arsenic