X-ray analysis utilizing synchrotron radiation was performed to investigate the distribution and oxidation state of arsenic in the gametophytes of two hyperaccumulators, Pteris vittata L. and Pteris cretica L., and an arsenic-accumulating fern, Athyrium yokoscense in the several growth stages from germination. The distribution of arsenic in P. vittata changed through the development of the plant tissues as follows. In two-week-old gametophyte, arsenic was mainly present along the rhizoid. In the one-month-old gametophyte with reproductive organs, arsenic was accumulating uniformly in the sheet of cells, except in the reproductive area. After fertilization, arsenic was observed in the aboveground part of the sporophyte structures. P. cretica and A. yokoscense showed different distributions, respectively. P. cretica showed an accumulation of arsenic in the reproductive area, in contrast to P. vittata, before fertilization, while arsenic was observed in the aboveground part of the sporophyte after fertilization. A. yokoscense showed an accumulation of arsenic along the rhizoids before fertilization, while it was present mainly along the roots of the sporophyte after fertilization. Reduced arsenic (As(III)) was observed in all stages and in all tissues of P. vittata gametophytes. Further, a reduction of arsenic was commonly observed among the three ferns, although arsenic was bounded to sulfur in A. yokoscense. These findings may be related to their own reproductive process or to detoxification mechanism. They provide basic information for the understanding of arsenic hyperaccumulation in these ferns, leading to further application of these gametophyte systems.
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