Pharmaceutical compounds have been found in rivers and treated wastewaters. They often contaminate irrigation waters and consequently accumulate in edible vegetables, causing changes in plants metabolism. The main objective of this work is to understand how lettuce plants cope with the contamination from three selected pharmaceuticals using a label free proteomic analysis. A lettuce hydroponic culture, grown for 36 days, was exposed to metformin, acetaminophen and carbamazepine (at 1 mg/L), during 8 days, after which roots and leaves were sampled and analysed using a liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry proteomics-based approach. In roots, a total of 612 proteins showed differentially accumulation while in leaves 237 proteins were identified with significant differences over controls. Carbamazepine was the contaminant that most affected protein abundance in roots, while in leaves the highest number of differentially accumulated proteins was observed for acetaminophen. In roots under carbamazepine, stress related protein species such as catalase, superoxide dismutase and peroxidases presented higher abundance. Ascorbate peroxidase increased in roots under metformin. Cell respiration protein species were affected by the presence of the three pharmaceuticals suggesting possible dysregulation of the Krebs cycle. Acetaminophen caused the main differences in respiration pathways, with more emphasis in leaves. Lettuce plants revealed different tolerance levels when contaminants were compared, being more tolerant to metformin presence and less tolerant to carbamazepine. SIGNIFICANCE: The significant increase of emerging contaminants in ecosystems makes essential to understand how these compounds may affect the metabolism of different organisms. Our study contributes with a detailed approach of the main interactions that may occur in plant metabolism when subjected to the stress induced by three different pharmaceuticals (acetaminophen, carbamazepine and metformin).
Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier B.V.