Main Article Content
Heavy metals (HMs) toxicity has an unavoidable threat to environment and public health due to their increasing contamination and accumulation in atmosphere which ultimately passes to the living beings by the route of food chain. Heavy metals are increasing rapidly in soil and water by weathering of rocks and anthropogenic activities and are now emerging as a major health hazard to humans and plants. Among them Nickel (Ni2+) is a controversial element because of debate on its essentiality or non-essentiality in plants. Ni2+ is an important constituent (micronutrient) of many metallo-enzymes including urease, Ni-Fe hydrogenase, Ni-superoxide dismutase etc. while at higher level it affects all cellular and metabolic processes and causes retardation of germination, competition with other essential metal ions, osmotic imbalance, alteration of many enzymatic activities, disruption of cell structure and wilting, reduced photosynthetic activity, oxidative stress etc. Plants also possess some natural and stress-induced strategies to cope up with Ni2+ excess/toxicity. These strategies include growth regulators, antioxidative enzymes, amino acids as osmoprotectant, and chelation of Ni2+ with metalloproteins and metallothionins. This review focuses on researches done on the morpho-biochemical alterations induced by elevated Ni2+ concentration in plants and as well as the strategies adapted by plants to survive and neutralize the effects of these alterations.