Phytoremediative capacity of plants enriched with melatonin

Dun Xian Tan, Lucien C. Manchester, Pat Helton, Russel J. Reiter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

144 Scopus citations


Melatonin is an environmentally friendly-molecule with broad spectrum antioxidant capacity. Melatonin is widely present in the plant kingdom. High levels of melatonin exist in an aquatic plant, the water hyacinth, which is highly tolerant of environmental pollutants. Elevated levels of melatonin probably help plants to protect against environmental stress caused by water and soil pollutants. To investigate the potential relationships between melatonin supplementation and environmental tolerance in plants, pea plants were treated with high levels of copper in the soil. The results show that copper contamination kills pea plants; however, melatonin added to the soil significantly enhanced their tolerance to the copper contamination and, therefore, increased their survival. Based on the theory and these preliminary data, we speculate that melatonin could be used to improve the phytoremediative efficiency of plants against different pollutants. Since melatonin is safe to animals and humans as well as being inexpensive, if may be a feasible and cost-effective approach to clean environmental contaminations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)514-516
Number of pages3
JournalPlant Signaling and Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Antioxidant
  • Melatonin
  • Phytoremediation
  • Plants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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