Tracing Nanoparticle Uptake by Plants through Isotopic Labeling

Jayashree Nath, Earth and Planetary Sciences, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel (
Ishai Dror, Earth And Planetary Sciences, Weizmann Institute Of Science, Rehovot, Israel
Brian Berkowitz, Earth And Planetary Sciences, Weizmann Institute Of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Nanotechnology is an important field of modern research dealing with design, synthesis, and manipulation of particle structures ranging from approximately 1-100 nm. Synthesis of nanoparticles (NPs) with different chemical compositions, sizes and morphologies is an important area of research in nano-technology. In parallel to technological advances and ever-increasing use of nanoparticles in industry, agriculture and consumer products, the potential ecotoxicity of nanoparticles and their potential accumulation in ecosystems is of increasing concern. Because scientific reports raise a concern regarding nanoparticle toxicity to plants, understanding of their bioaccumulation has become critical and demands more research. As a benchmark, we first synthesized metal nanoparticles (silver, copper, zinc oxide), exposed them in a series of growth experiments to Arabidopsis thaliana, and traced them in different parts of the plant. We then synthesized isotopically-labeled nanoparticles of silver, copper and zinc oxide and demonstrated that they are reliable and enable more sensitive tracing of the nanoparticles within plants that have background elemental levels. This technique is particularly useful for working with elements that are present in high abundance in natural environments. All of the synthesized nanoparticles were characterized by TEM, EDS, DLS and ζ-potential which provided essential information regarding size, composition, morphology and surface charge of nanoparticles, as well as their stability in suspensions. Tracing studies with Arabidopsis thaliana showed uptake/retention of nanoparticles that is more significant in roots than in shoots. The scanning electron micrographs and EDS of plant roots show presence of silver nanoparticles in particular, localized areas, whereas copper and zinc were found to be distributed over the root tissues, but not as nanoparticles.

Short Biography of Presenting Author

Working as postdoctoral fellow in Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel. Presently working on synthesis of nanoparticles, studying their fate and transport in soil/water, tracing their uptake in plants. Completed Ph.D on bioremediation and wastewater treatment, from Department of Food Technology and Biochemical Engineering, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India. Experienced in microbiology and its wide application in environmental studies.

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