Publications by authors named "Jorge L Gardea-Torresdey"

144 Publications

COVID-19 and Nanoscience in the Developing World: Rapid Detection and Remediation in Wastewater.

Nanomaterials (Basel) 2021 Apr 12;11(4). Epub 2021 Apr 12.

Beijing Key Laboratory of Farmland Soil Pollution Prevention and Remediation, College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China.

Given the known presence of SARS-Cov-2 in wastewater, stemming disease spread in global regions where untreated effluent in the environment is common will experience additional pressure. Though development and preliminary trials of a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 have been launched in several countries, rapid and effective alternative tools for the timely detection and remediation of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater, especially in the developing countries, is of paramount importance. Here, we propose a promising, non-invasive technique for early prediction and targeted detection of SARS-CoV-2 to prevent current and future outbreaks. Thus, a combination of nanotechnology with wastewater-based epidemiology and artificial intelligence could be deployed for community-level wastewater virus detection and remediation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nano11040991DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8069490PMC
April 2021

Soil-aged nano titanium dioxide effects on full-grown carrot: Dose and surface-coating dependent improvements on growth and nutrient quality.

Sci Total Environ 2021 Jun 6;774:145699. Epub 2021 Feb 6.

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West University Avenue, El Paso, TX 79968, USA; Environmental Science and Engineering PhD Program, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West University Avenue, El Paso, TX 79968, USA; University of California Centre for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West University Avenue, El Paso, TX 79968, USA. Electronic address:

Rutile titanium dioxide nanoparticles (nTiO) were weathered in field soil at 0, 100, 200, and 400 mg Ti/kg soil for four months. Two types of nTiO with different surface coatings (hydrophilic and hydrophobic), uncoated nTiO (pristine), and the untreated control were included. Thereafter, carrot seeds (Daucus carota L.) were sown in those soils and grown in a growth chamber for 115 days until full maturity. A comparison was made between this and our previous unaged study, where carrots were treated in the same way in soil with freshly amended nTiO. The responses of plants depended on the nTiO surface coating and concentration. The aged hydrophobic and hydrophilic-coated nTiO induced more positive effects on plant development at 400 and 100 mg Ti/kg soil, respectively, compared with control and pristine treatments. Taproot and leaf fresh biomass and plant height were improved by up to 64%, 40%, and 40% compared with control, respectively. Meanwhile, nutrient elements such as Fe in leaves, Mg in taproots, and Ca, Zn, and K in roots were enhanced by up to 66%, 64%, 41, 143% and 46%, respectively. However, the contents of sugar, starch, and some other metal elements in taproots were negatively affected, which may compromise their nutritional quality. Taken together, the overall growth of carrots was benefited by the aged nTiO depending on coating and concentration. The aging process served as a potential sustainable strategy to alleviate the phytotoxicity of unweathered nanoparticles.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.145699DOI Listing
June 2021

Soil-Weathered CuO Nanoparticles Compromise Foliar Health and Pigment Production in Spinach ().

Environ Sci Technol 2021 Feb 8. Epub 2021 Feb 8.

Environmental Science and Engineering Ph.D. Program, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West University Avenue, El Paso, Texas 79968, United States.

In this study, spinach plants exposed to fresh/unweathered (UW) or weathered (W) copper compounds in soil were analyzed for growth and nutritional composition. Plants were exposed for 45 days to freshly prepared or soil-aged (35 days) nanoparticulate CuO (nCuO), bulk-scale CuO (bCuO), or CuSO at 0 (control), 400, 400, and 40 mg/kg of soil, respectively. Foliar health, gas exchange, pigment content (chlorophyll and carotenoid), catalase and ascorbate peroxidase enzymes, gene expression, and Cu bioaccumulation were evaluated along with SEM imagery for select samples. Foliar biomass was higher in UW control (84%) and in UW ionic treatment (87%), compared to the corresponding W treatments ( ≤ 0.1). Root catalase activity was increased by 110% in UW bCuO treatment as compared to the W counterpart; the value for the W ionic treatment was increased by 2167% compared to the UW counterpart ( ≤ 0.05). At 20 days post-transplantation, W nCuO-exposed plants had ∼56% lower carotenoid content compared to both W control and the UW counterpart ( ≤ 0.05). The findings indicate that over the full life cycle of spinach plant the weathering process significantly deteriorates leaf pigment production under CuO exposure in particular and foliar health in general.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.0c06548DOI Listing
February 2021

Effects of different surface-coated nTiO on full-grown carrot plants: Impacts on root splitting, essential elements, and Ti uptake.

J Hazard Mater 2021 01 23;402:123768. Epub 2020 Aug 23.

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West University Avenue, El Paso, TX-79968, USA; Environmental Science and Engineering PhD Program, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West University Avenue, El Paso, TX-79968, USA; University of California Centre for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West University Avenue, El Paso, TX-79968, USA. Electronic address:

The production and environmental release of surface-modified titanium dioxide nanoparticles (nTiO) have increased. Hence, crops may be directly exposed to the nTiO in soil. In this study, we grew carrots in soils amended with pristine, hydrophilic and hydrophobic surface-coated nTiO at 100, 200, and 400 mg kg until full-plant maturity. The content of Ti in plant secondary roots treated with different nTiO at 400 mg kg was in the order of hydrophobic > hydrophilic > pristine treatments, with values of 140.1, 100.5, and 64.3 mg kg, respectively. The fresh biomass of the taproot was significantly decreased by all nTiO forms at 400 mg kg by up to 56 %, compared to control. Pristine nTiO at 100 mg kg enhanced the fresh weight of leaves by 51 % with respect to control. Remarkably, an abnormal increase of taproot splitting was found in plants treated with all nTiO forms. In carrots treated with the surface-coated nTiO, the accumulation of Ca, Mg, Fe, and Zn increased in leaves; but Mg, Mn, and Zn decreased in taproots. These results suggest that future regulation of nTiO release into soils should consider its surface coating properties since the phytotoxicity effects depend on nTiO outer structure.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2020.123768DOI Listing
January 2021

Antioxidant and defense genetic expressions in corn at early-developmental stage are differentially modulated by copper form exposure (nano, bulk, ionic): Nutrient and physiological effects.

Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 2020 Dec 3;206:111197. Epub 2020 Sep 3.

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West University Avenue, El Paso, TX, 79968, USA; Environmental Science and Engineering Ph.D. Program, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West University Avenue, El Paso, TX, 79968, USA. Electronic address:

In the present study, Zea mays seedlings grown under nano Cu(OH) (nCu), bulk Cu(OH) (bCu), and ionic CuSO (iCu) compound exposure were harvested after six days. The nutritional profile was determined to be significantly disrupted in the roots by 1000 ppm bCu treatment, resulting in a 58.7% reduction in potassium compared to the control. In the shoots, a significant decrease of manganese was observed for 10 and 1000 ppm iCu treatments with 55.7% and 64.2% reductions, respectively. The overall protein content and catalase (CAT) enzymatic activity, however, remained unaffected in either roots or shoots, while an absence of polyphenol oxidase (PPO) activity was observed for all samples. The genetic expression of defense-related genes, metallothionein (MT), CAT, ascorbate peroxidase (APX), and PPO was assessed. The genetic expression of MT was upregulated 50-fold in roots treated with 1000 ppm bCu. There were no significant differences in CAT transcripts among the various treatments, while APX was upregulated 28 and 19-fold in shoots treated with 10 ppm bCu and 10 ppm nCu, respectively. Meanwhile, APX mRNA levels were downregulated five-fold in shoots treated with 1000 ppm iCu. Thus, indicating that the role of APX in plant defense was reinforced in seedlings exposed to low concentration of particulate Cu compounds. Remarkably, no PPO expression was found in any of the treatments and controls, which suggests this enzyme is expressed only under specific external factors or seedlings have an "immature" cascade signaling activation of the PPO system. Taken together, these results show that bCu and nCu treatments at a low concentration do not compromise vital cell machinery but rather elicit the enhancement of defense responses as observed through the increase in APX expression. Furthermore, under optimal concentrations, these Cu treatments show promise in enhancing corn defense responses, which can ultimately lead to increases in future global crop yields.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoenv.2020.111197DOI Listing
December 2020

Copper nanowires as nanofertilizers for alfalfa plants: Understanding nano-bio systems interactions from microbial genomics, plant molecular responses and spectroscopic studies.

Sci Total Environ 2020 Nov 27;742:140572. Epub 2020 Jun 27.

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West University Avenue, El Paso, TX 79968, USA; Environmental Science and Engineering Ph.D. program, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West University Avenue, El Paso, TX 79968, USA; UC Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (UC CEIN), The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West University Avenue, El Paso, TX 79968, USA. Electronic address:

The recent application of nano copper (Cu) compounds in the agrosystem has shown potential to improve the physiological performance and agronomical parameters of crops. We grew alfalfa (Medicago sativa) in potting mix amended with bulk, nano, and ionic Cu compounds at 80 and 280 mg Cu/kg; then, we evaluated plant performance at physiological and molecular levels. Plants treated with bulk/nano Cu presented better agronomical responses. The P and S content was reduced in bulk and ionic Cu-exposed plants, compared to controls (p ≤ .05). All Cu forms increased the content of Fe and Zn in roots and Fe in leaves, compared to controls (p ≤ .05). Leaf-superoxide dismutase expression was augmented ~27-fold and rubisco mRNA was unaffected in bulk/nano Cu-treated plants, compared to controls (p ≤ .05). Bulk/nano Cu incremented the relative abundance of microorganisms involved in the elemental uptake. These results indicate that nano Cu improved the physiology of alfalfa and can be considered as potential nanofertilizers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.140572DOI Listing
November 2020

Improvement of nutrient elements and allicin content in green onion (Allium fistulosum) plants exposed to CuO nanoparticles.

Sci Total Environ 2020 Jul 3;725:138387. Epub 2020 Apr 3.

Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West University Avenue, El Paso TX-79968, USA; Environmental Science and Engineering PhD Program, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West University Avenue, El Paso TX-79968, USA; University of California Centre for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West University Avenue, El Paso TX-79968, USA. Electronic address:

With the exponential growth of nanomaterial production in the last years, nano copper (Cu)-based compounds are gaining more consideration in agriculture since they can work as pesticides or fertilizers. Chinese scallions (Allium fistulosum), which are characterized by their high content of the antioxidant allicin, were the chosen plants for this study. Spectroscopic and microscopic techniques were used to evaluate the nutrient element, allicin content, and enzyme antioxidant properties of scallion plants. Plants were harvested after growing for 80 days at greenhouse conditions in soil amended with CuO particles [nano (nCuO) and bulk (bCuO)] and CuSO at 75-600 mg/kg]. Two-photon microscopy images demonstrated the particulate Cu uptake in nCuO and bCuO treated roots. In plants exposed to 150 mg/kg of the Cu-based compounds, root Cu content was higher in plants treated with nCuO compared with bCuO, CuSO, and control (p ≤ 0.05). At 150 mg/kg, nCuO increased root Ca (86%), root Fe (71%), bulb Ca (74%), and bulb Mg (108%) content, compared with control (p ≤ 0.05). At the same concentration, bCuO reduced root Ca (67%) and root Mg (33%), compared with control (p ≤ 0.05). At all concentrations, nCuO and CuSO increased leaf allicin (56-187% and 42-90%, respectively), compared with control (p ≤ 0.05). The antioxidant enzymes were differentially affected by the Cu-based treatments. Overall, the data showed that nCuO enhances nutrient and allicin contents in scallion, which suggests they might be used as a nanofertilizer for onion production.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.138387DOI Listing
July 2020

Insights into the Biogeochemical Cycling of Cobalt: Precipitation and Transformation of Cobalt Sulfide Nanoparticles under Low-Temperature Aqueous Conditions.

Environ Sci Technol 2020 05 14;54(9):5598-5607. Epub 2020 Apr 14.

Department of Geological Sciences, The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas 79968, United States.

Cobalt sulfide precipitates, key phases in the natural biogeochemistry of cobalt and in relevant remediation and resource recovery processes, are poorly defined under low-temperature aqueous conditions. Here, we systematically studied Co (Fe) sulfides precipitated and aged in environmentally relevant solutions, defined by different combinations of pH, initial cobalt to iron ratios ([Co]/[Fe]), with/without S, and the presence/absence of sulfate-reducing bacteria. The initial abiogenic precipitates were composed exclusively of amorphous Co sulfide nanoparticles (CoS·HO) that were stable in anoxic solution for 2 months, with estimated log values 1-5 orders of magnitude higher than that previously reported for Co sulfides. The addition of S, in combination with acidic pH and elevated temperature (60 °C), resulted in recrystallization of the amorphous precipitates into nanocrystalline jaipurite (hexagonal CoS) within 1 month. In the presence of Fe(II), the abiogenic precipitates were composed of more crystalline Co sulfides and/or Co-rich mackinawite, the exact phase being dependent on the [Co]/[Fe] value. The biogenic precipitates displayed higher crystallinity for Co sulfides (up to the formation of nanocrystalline cobalt pentlandite, CoS) and lower crystallinity for Co-rich mackinawite, suggestive of mineral-specific bacterial interaction. The revealed precipitation and transformation pathways of Co (Fe) sulfides in this study allows for a better constraint of Co biogeochemistry in various natural and engineered environments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.0c01363DOI Listing
May 2020

Interactive effects of drought, organic fertilizer, and zinc oxide nanoscale and bulk particles on wheat performance and grain nutrient accumulation.

Sci Total Environ 2020 Jun 18;722:137808. Epub 2020 Mar 18.

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, 123 Huntington Street, New Haven, CT 06511, United States.

Drought (40% field moisture capacity), organic fertilizer (O-F; 10%), and nano vs. bulk-ZnO particles (1.7 vs. 3.5 mg Zn/kg) were assessed in soil to determine their interactive effects on wheat performance and nutrient acquisition. Drought significantly reduced (6%) chlorophyll levels, whereas nano and bulk-ZnO alleviated some stress, thereby increasing (14-16%) chlorophyll levels, compared to the control. O-F increased (29%) chlorophyll levels and counteracted Zn's effect. Drought delayed (3-days) panicle emergence; O-F, nano and bulk-ZnO each accelerated (5-days) panicle emergence under drought, relative to the control and absence of O-F. Drought reduced (51%) grain yield, while O-F increased (130%) yield under drought. Grain yield was unaffected by Zn treatment under drought but increased (88%) under non-drought condition with bulk-ZnO, relative to the control. Drought lowered (43%) shoot Zn uptake. Compared to the control, nano and bulk-ZnO increased (39 and 23%, respectively) shoot Zn in the absence of O-F, whereas O-F amendment enhanced (94%) shoot Zn. Drought increased (48%) grain Zn concentration; nano and bulk-ZnO increased (29 and 18%, respectively) grain Zn, relative to the control, and O-F increased (85%) grain Zn. Zn recovery efficiency was in the order O-F > nano-ZnO > bulk-ZnO, regardless of the water status. Grain Fe concentration was unaffected by drought, under which O-F significantly reduced grain Fe, and nano-ZnO significantly reduced grain Fe, in the absence of O-F. Nano and bulk-ZnO also significantly reduced grain Fe, with O-F amendment under drought. Drought can have dire consequences for food and nutrition security, with implications for human health. This study demonstrated that drought-induced effects in food crops can be partially or wholly alleviated by ZnO particles and Zn-rich O-F. Understanding the interactions of drought and potential mitigation strategies such as fertilization with Zn-rich organic manure and ZnO can increase options for sustaining food production and quality under adverse conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.137808DOI Listing
June 2020

Facile Coating of Urea With Low-Dose ZnO Nanoparticles Promotes Wheat Performance and Enhances Zn Uptake Under Drought Stress.

Front Plant Sci 2020 26;11:168. Epub 2020 Feb 26.

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, New Haven, CT, United States.

Zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO-NPs) hold promise as novel fertilizer nutrients for crops. However, their ultra-small size could hinder large-scale field application due to potential for drift, untimely dissolution or aggregation. In this study, urea was coated with ZnO-NPs (1%) or bulk ZnO (2%) and evaluated in wheat ( L.) in a greenhouse, under drought (40% field moisture capacity; FMC) and non-drought (80% FMC) conditions, in comparison with urea not coated with ZnO (control), and urea with separate ZnO-NP (1%) or bulk ZnO (2%) amendment. Plants were exposed to ≤ 2.17 mg/kg ZnO-NPs and ≤ 4.34 mg/kg bulk-ZnO, indicating exposure to a higher rate of Zn from the bulk ZnO. ZnO-NPs and bulk-ZnO showed similar urea coating efficiencies of 74-75%. Drought significantly (p ≤ 0.05) increased time to panicle initiation, reduced grain yield, and inhibited uptake of Zn, nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P). Under drought, ZnO-NPs significantly reduced average time to panicle initiation by 5 days, irrespective of coating, and relative to the control. In contrast, bulk ZnO did not affect time to panicle initiation. Compared to the control, grain yield increased significantly, 51 or 39%, with ZnO-NP-coated or uncoated urea. Yield increases from bulk-ZnO-coated or uncoated urea were insignificant, compared to both the control and the ZnO-NP treatments. Plant uptake of Zn increased by 24 or 8% with coated or uncoated ZnO-NPs; and by 78 or 10% with coated or uncoated bulk-ZnO. Under non-drought conditions, Zn treatment did not significantly reduce panicle initiation time, except with uncoated bulk-ZnO. Relative to the control, ZnO-NPs (irrespective of coating) significantly increased grain yield; and coated ZnO-NPs enhanced Zn uptake significantly. Zn fertilization did not significantly affect N and P uptake, regardless of particle size or coating. Collectively, these findings demonstrate that coating urea with ZnO-NPs enhances plant performance and Zn accumulation, thus potentiating field-scale deployment of nano-scale micronutrients. Notably, lower Zn inputs from ZnO-NPs enhanced crop productivity, comparable to higher inputs from bulk-ZnO. This highlights a key benefit of nanofertilizers: a reduction of nutrient inputs into agriculture without yield penalities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2020.00168DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7055539PMC
February 2020

High-Throughput Screening for Engineered Nanoparticles That Enhance Photosynthesis Using Mesophyll Protoplasts.

J Agric Food Chem 2020 Mar 5;68(11):3382-3389. Epub 2020 Mar 5.

State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resource Reuse, School of Environment, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China.

Certain engineered nanoparticles (NPs) have unique properties that have exhibited significant potential for promoting photosynthesis and enhancing crop productivity. Understanding the fundamental interactions between NPs and plants is crucial for the sustainable development of nanoenabled agriculture. Leaf mesophyll protoplasts, which maintain similar physiological response and cellular activity as intact plants, were selected as a model system to study the impact of NPs on photosynthesis. The mesophyll protoplasts isolated from spinach were cultivated with different NMs (Fe, MnO, SiO, Ag, and MoS) dosing at 50 mg/L for 2 h under illumination. The potential maximum quantum yield and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production of mesophyll protoplasts were significantly increased by MnO and Fe NPs (23% and 43%, respectively), and were decreased by Ag and MoS NPs. The mechanism for the photosynthetic enhancement by MnO and Fe is to increase the photocurrent and electron transfer rate, as revealed by photoelectrochemical measurement. GC-MS based single cell type metabolomics reveal that NPs (Fe and MoS) altered the metabolic profiles of mesophyll cells during 2 h of illumination period. Separately, the effect of NPs exposure on photosynthesis and biomass were also conducted at the whole plant level. A strong correlation was observed with protoplast data; plant biomass was significantly increased by MnO exposure (57%) but was decreased (24%) by treatment of Ag NPs. The use of mesophyll protoplasts can be a fast and reliable tool for screening NPs to enhance photosynthesis for potential nanofertilizer use. Importantly, inclusion of a metabolic analysis can provide mechanistic toxicity data to ensure the development "safer-by-design" nanoenabled platforms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jafc.9b06429DOI Listing
March 2020

Silver Nanoparticles Alter Soil Microbial Community Compositions and Metabolite Profiles in Unplanted and Cucumber-Planted Soils.

Environ Sci Technol 2020 03 5;54(6):3334-3342. Epub 2020 Mar 5.

State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resource Reuse, School of Environment, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China.

The rapid development of nanotechnology makes the environmental impact assessment a necessity to ensure the sustainable use of engineered nanomaterials. Here, silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) at 100 mg/kg were added to soils in the absence or presence of cucumber () plants for 60 days. The response of the soil microbial community and associated soil metabolites was investigated by 16S rRNA gene sequencing and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS)-based metabolomics, respectively. The results show that AgNP exposure significantly increased the soil pH in both unplanted and cucumber-planted soils. The soil bacterial community structure was altered upon Ag exposure in both soils. Several functionally significant bacterial groups, which are associated with carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus cycling, were compromised by AgNPs in both unplanted and cucumber-planted soils. Generally, plants played a limited role in mediating the impact of AgNPs on the bacterial community. Soil metabolomic analysis showed that AgNPs altered the metabolite profile in both unplanted and cucumber-planted soils. The significantly changed metabolites are involved in sugar and amino acid-related metabolic pathways, indicating the perturbation of C and N metabolism, which is consistent with the bacterial community structure results. In addition, several fatty acids were significantly decreased upon exposure to AgNPs in both unplanted and cucumber-planted soils, suggesting the possible oxidative stress imposed on microbial cell membranes. These results provide valuable information for understanding the biological and biochemical impact of AgNP exposure on both plant species and on soil microbial communities; such understanding is needed to understand the risk posed by these materials in the environment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.9b07562DOI Listing
March 2020

Nutritional Status of Tomato () Fruit Grown in -Infested Soil: Impact of Cerium Oxide Nanoparticles.

J Agric Food Chem 2020 Feb 5;68(7):1986-1997. Epub 2020 Feb 5.

Environmental Science and Engineering PhD Program , The University of Texas at El Paso , 500 West University Avenue , El Paso , Texas 79968 , United States.

In this study, the impact of cerium oxide nanoparticles on the nutritional value of tomato () fruit grown in soil infested with f. sp. was investigated in a greenhouse pot study. Three-week old seedlings of Bonny Best tomato plants were exposed by foliar and soil routes to nanoparticle CeO (NP CeO) and cerium acetate (CeAc) at 0, 50, and 250 mg/L and transplanted into pots containing a soil mixture infested with the wilt pathogen. Fruit biomass, water content, diameter, and nutritional content (lycopene, reducing and total sugar) along with elemental composition, including Ce, were evaluated. Fruit Ce concentration was below the detection limit in all treatments. Foliar exposure to NP CeO at 250 increased the fruit dry weight (67%) and lycopene content (9%) in infested plants, compared with the infested untreated control. Foliar exposure to CeAc at 50 mg/L reduced fruit fresh weight (46%) and water content (46%) and increased the fruit lycopene content by 11% via root exposure as compared with the untreated infested control. At 250 mg/L, CeAc increased fruit dry weight (94%), compared with the infested untreated control. Total sugar content decreased in fruits of infested plants exposed via roots to NP CeO at 50 mg/kg (63%) and 250 mg/kg (54%), CeAc at 50 mg/kg (46%), and foliarly at 50 mg/L (50%) and 250 mg/L (50%), all compared with the infested untreated control. Plants grown in -infested soil had decreased fruit dry weight (42%) and lycopene content (17%) and increased total sugar (60%) and Ca content (140%), when compared with the noninfested untreated control ( ≤ 0.05). Overall, the data suggested minimal negative effects of NP CeO on the nutritional value of tomato fruit while simultaneously suppressing wilt disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jafc.9b06840DOI Listing
February 2020

Soybeans Grown with Carbonaceous Nanomaterials Maintain Nitrogen Stoichiometry by Assimilating Soil Nitrogen to Offset Impaired Dinitrogen Fixation.

ACS Nano 2020 01 18;14(1):585-594. Epub 2019 Dec 18.

Bren School of Environmental Science and Management , University of California , Santa Barbara , California 93106 , United States.

Engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) can enter agroecosystems because of their widespread use and disposal. Within soil, ENMs may affect legumes and their dinitrogen (N) fixation, which are critical for food supply and N-cycling. Prior research focusing on end point treatment effects has reported that N-fixing symbioses in an important food legume, soybean, can be impaired by ENMs. Yet, it remains unknown how ENMs can influence the actual amounts of N fixed and what plant total N contents are since plants can also acquire N from the soil. We determined the effects of one already widespread and two rapidly expanding carbonaceous nanomaterials (CNMs: carbon black, multiwalled carbon nanotubes, and graphene; each at three concentrations) on the N economy of soil-grown soybeans. Unlike previous studies, this research focused on processes and interactions within a plant-soil-microbial system. We found that total plant N accumulation was unaffected by CNMs. However, as shown by N isotope analyses, CNMs significantly diminished soybean N fixation (by 31-78%). Plants maintained N stoichiometry by assimilating compensatory N from the soil, accompanied by increased net soil N mineralization. Our findings suggest that CNMs could undermine the role of legume N fixation in supplying N to agroecosystems. Maintaining productivity in leguminous agriculture experiencing such effects would require more fossil-fuel-intensive N fertilizer and increase associated economic and environmental costs. This work highlights the value of a process-based analysis of a plant-soil-microbial system for assessing how ENMs in soil can affect legume N fixation and N-cycling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsnano.9b06970DOI Listing
January 2020

Zinc oxide nanoparticles alleviate drought-induced alterations in sorghum performance, nutrient acquisition, and grain fortification.

Sci Total Environ 2019 Oct 25;688:926-934. Epub 2019 Jun 25.

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, 123 Huntington Street, New Haven, CT 06511, United States.

Drought is a major environmental event affecting crop productivity and nutritional quality, and potentially, human nutrition. This study evaluated drought effects on performance and nutrient acquisition and distribution in sorghum; and whether ZnO nanoparticles (ZnO-NPs) might alleviate such effects. Soil was amended with ZnO-NPs at 1, 3, and 5 mg Zn/kg, and drought was imposed 4 weeks after seed germination by maintaining the soil at 40% of field moisture capacity. Flag leaf and grain head emergence were delayed 6-17 days by drought, but the delays were reduced to 4-5 days by ZnO-NPs. Drought significantly (p < 0.05) reduced (76%) grain yield; however, ZnO-NP amendment under drought improved grain (22-183%) yield. Drought inhibited grain nitrogen (N) translocation (57%) and total (root, shoot and grain) N acquisition (22%). However, ZnO-NPs (5 mg/kg) improved (84%) grain N translocation relative to the drought control and restored total N levels to the non-drought condition. Shoot uptake of phosphorus (P) was promoted (39%) by drought, while grain P translocation was inhibited (63%); however, ZnO-NPs lowered total P acquisition under drought by 11-23%. Drought impeded shoot uptake (45%), grain translocation (71%) and total acquisition (41%) of potassium (K). ZnO-NP amendment (5 mg/kg) to drought-affected plants improved total K acquisition (16-30%) and grain K (123%), relative to the drought control. Drought lowered (32%) average grain Zn concentration; however, ZnO-NP amendments improved (94%) grain Zn under drought. This study represents the first evidence of mitigation of drought stress in full-term plants solely by exposure to ZnO-NPs in soil. The ability of ZnO-NPs to accelerate plant development, promote yield, fortify edible grains with critically essential nutrients such as Zn, and improve N acquisition under drought stress has strong implications for increasing cropping systems resilience, sustaining human/animal food/feed and nutrition security, and reducing nutrient losses and environmental pollution associated with N-fertilizers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.06.392DOI Listing
October 2019

Study of organochlorine pesticides and heavy metals in soils of the Juarez valley: an important agricultural region between Mexico and the USA.

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 2019 Dec 13;26(36):36401-36409. Epub 2019 Nov 13.

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West University Avenue, El Paso, TX, 79968, USA.

The Juarez Valley is an important agricultural region in northern Mexico, conveniently organized into three modules (I to III). For decades, their soils have been exposed to organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) and also have been irrigated with wastewaters, which may contain heavy metals. Nowadays, there is very limited information regarding the presence of OCPs and heavy metals in these soils. Thus, the aim of this study was to diagnose these soils for OCPs and heavy metal content by using gas chromatography coupled with electron micro-capture detector and atomic absorption spectrometry, respectively. The results indicated that 4,4'-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene and 4,4'-dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane were primarily disseminated across the three modules since they were found in 100% and 97% of the analyzed soils, respectively. According to international regulations, none of the determined OCP concentrations are out of the limits. Additionally, the Cu, Zn, Fe, Pb, and Mn were found in all sampled soils from the three modules. The highest concentration of Fe was found in module II (1902.7 ± 332.2 mg kg), followed by Mn in module III (392.43 ± 74.43 mg kg), Zn in module I (38.36 ± 26.57 mg kg), Pb in module II (23.48 ± 6.48 mg kg), and Cu in module I (11.04 ± 3.83 mg kg) (p ≤ 0.05). These values did not exceed the limits proposed by international standards. The Cd was detected in most of the analyzed soils and all their values, with an average of 2 mg kg, surpassed the Mexican standards (0.35 mg kg). This study has mapped the main OCPs and heavy metals in the Juarez Valley and can serve as a starting point to further monitor the behave of xenobiotics. Since these recalcitrant compounds might be bio-accumulated in biological systems, further analytical methods, as well as remediation techniques, should be developed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11356-019-06724-4DOI Listing
December 2019

Can abiotic stresses in plants be alleviated by manganese nanoparticles or compounds?

Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 2019 Nov 17;184:109671. Epub 2019 Sep 17.

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West University Ave., El Paso, TX, 79968, United States; Environmental Science and Engineering Ph.D. Program, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West University Ave., El Paso, TX, 79968, United States; University of California Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (UC CEIN), The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West University Ave., El Paso, TX, 79968, United States. Electronic address:

Abiotic stress has become one of the most challenging problems for agriculture as the world population keeps increasing dramatically. Crop stress management using manganese (Mn) compounds has been recently employed to reduce the negative effects caused by drought, harsh temperature, and salinity. In response to abiotic stress, an adequate supply of Mn has shown to remediate plant manganese deficiency, induce Mn superoxide dismutase at the transcriptional level to face reactive oxygen species production, and stimulate manganese-dependent proteins to maintain cell integrity. Lately, nanoparticles (NPs) have been explored in agriculture applications. Recent studies have implied that Mn NPs may help plants to overcome abiotic stresses at higher efficiency and lower toxicity, compared to their bulk or ionic counterparts. Although studies have shown that Mn compounds promote crop growth and alleviate abiotic stress, many questions related to Mn-plant networking, their mode of signaling, and the Mn-dependent regulation processes need to be answered.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoenv.2019.109671DOI Listing
November 2019

Joint Nanotoxicology Assessment Provides a New Strategy for Developing Nanoenabled Bioremediation Technologies.

Environ Sci Technol 2019 Jul 3;53(14):7927-7929. Epub 2019 Jul 3.

Stockbridge School of Agriculture , University of Massachusetts , Amherst , Massachusetts United States.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.9b03593DOI Listing
July 2019

Sustainable synthesis and remarkable adsorption capacity of MOF/graphene oxide and MOF/CNT based hybrid nanocomposites for the removal of Bisphenol A from water.

Sci Total Environ 2019 Jul 27;673:306-317. Epub 2019 Mar 27.

Department of Chemistry, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX 79968, United States; Nanosystems Engineering Research Center for Nanotechnology-Enabled Water Treatment, The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX, United States. Electronic address:

A series of novel absorbents based on Cu-BDC MOFs decorated over graphene oxide (GrO) and carbon nanotubes (CNTs) hybrid nanocomposites, namely [email protected] and [email protected], are synthesized via a facile and one-pot green solvothermal method for water remediation. The nanocomposites were characterized by XRD, TEM, SEM, EDS, Raman, FTIR, TGA, XPS, Zetasizer and ICP-OES instruments. XRD results confirmed the high crystalline structure of the synthesized hybrid nanocomposites. Morphological analysis by SEM and TEM verified the successful decoration of nano-sized Cu-BDC MOFs over GrO and CNT platforms; whereas, EDS and XPS analysis confirmed the presence of all components in the hybrid nanocomposites. Bisphenol A was used in this study as a model organic pollutant that is sometimes present in the industrial wastewater to test the adsorption capacity of the prepared hybrid nanomaterials toward their removal from water. The hybrid nanomaterials showed remarkable adsorption capacity of 182.2 and 164.1 mg/g toward the removal of BPA, which was several times higher than that of 60.2 mg/g for Cu-BDC MOF itself. The Langmuir, Freundlich, Temkin and D-R isotherm models were applied to analyze the experimental data and the results revealed that the Freundlich model describes the experimental data best. A kinetic study was carried out and it showed that the prepared nanomaterials could remove maximum amount of BPA from water in 30 min. The pseudo-first order, pseudo-second order and intra-particle diffusion models were applied to evaluate the kinetic data and the results suggested that the kinetics data could be well fitted to the pseudo-second order kinetic model. Additionally, the BAP adsorption process onto the hybrid nanocomposites was spontaneous and exothermic. The π-π interactions between the BPA and hybrid nanomaterials played a vital role during the BPA adsorption process. The higher adsorption capacity and water stability makes them a good candidate for water remediation applications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.03.219DOI Listing
July 2019

Addition-omission of zinc, copper, and boron nano and bulk oxide particles demonstrate element and size -specific response of soybean to micronutrients exposure.

Sci Total Environ 2019 May 11;665:606-616. Epub 2019 Feb 11.

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, 123 Huntington Street, New Haven, CT 06511, United States.

Plant response to microelements exposure can be modulated based on particle size. However, studies are lacking on the roles of particle size and specific microelements in mixed exposure systems designed for plant nutrition, rather than toxicology. Here, an addition-omission strategy was used to address particle-size and element-specific effects in soybean exposed to a mixture of nano and bulk scale oxide particles of Zn (2 mg Zn/kg), Cu (1 mg Cu/kg) and B (1 mg B/kg) in soil. Compared to the control, mixtures of oxide particles of both sizes significantly (p < 0.05) promoted grain yield and overall (shoot and grain) Zn accumulation, but suppressed overall P accumulation. However, the mixed nano-oxides, but not the mixed bulk-oxides, specifically stimulated shoot growth (47%), flower formation (63%), shoot biomass (34%), and shoot N (53%) and K (42%) accumulation. Compared by particle size, omission of individual elements from the mixtures evoked significant responses that were nano or bulk-specific, including shoot growth promotion (29%) by bulk-B; inhibition (51%) of flower formation by nano-Cu; stimulation (57%) of flower formation by bulk-B; grain yield suppression (40%) by nano-Zn; B uptake enhancement (34%) by bulk-Cu; P uptake stimulation by nano-Zn (14%) or bulk-B (21%); residual soil N (80%) and Zn (42%) enhancement by nano-Cu; and residual soil Cu enhancement by nano-Zn (72%) and nano-B (62%). Zn was responsible for driving the agronomic (biomass and grain yield) responses in this soil, with concurrent ramifications for environmental management (N and P) and human health (Zn nutrition). Overall, compared to bulk microelements, nanoscale microelements played a greater role in evoking plant responses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.02.142DOI Listing
May 2019

Uptake, transport, and effects of nano-copper exposure in zucchini (Cucurbita pepo).

Sci Total Environ 2019 May 8;665:100-106. Epub 2019 Feb 8.

Environmental Science and Engineering PhD Program, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 W University Ave, El Paso, TX 79968, USA; Department of Chemistry, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 W University Ave, El Paso, TX 79968, USA; University of California Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (UC CEIN), The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 W University Ave, El Paso, TX 79968, USA. Electronic address:

Numerous studies on short term effects of copper-based nanomaterials on plants have been published, however investigations with plants grown in a complex soil medium are lacking. In this study Grey Zucchini (Cucurbita pepo) was grown in an environmental growth chamber using a 1:1 (v/v) potting mix native soil mixture amended with Kocide 3000, nCuO, bCuO, or Cu NPs. After 3 weeks Cu concentrations in the root, stem, and leaves of treated plants were significantly higher than control plants. This increase in Cu concentration did not adversely affect plant growth or chlorophyll production. The activity ascorbate peroxidase (APX) in the roots tissues of plants treated with Kocide 3000, nCuO, and bCuO decreased by at least 45%. Catalase (CAT) activity in root tissues of plants treated with 50 mg/kg of Cu NP decreased by 77%, while those treated at 200 mg/kg were reduced by 80%, compared to controls. The activity of APX and CAT in the leaves of all treated plants remained similar to control plants. Based on the endpoints used in this study, with the exception of a decrease in the accumulation of Zn and B in the roots, the exposure of zucchini to the tested copper compounds resulted in no negative effects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.02.029DOI Listing
May 2019

C60 Fullerols Enhance Copper Toxicity and Alter the Leaf Metabolite and Protein Profile in Cucumber.

Environ Sci Technol 2019 02 4;53(4):2171-2180. Epub 2019 Feb 4.

State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resource Reuse, School of Environment , Nanjing University , Nanjing 210023 , China.

Abiotic and biotic stress induce the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which limit crop production. Little is known about ROS reduction through the application of exogenous scavengers. In this study, C60 fullerol, a free radical scavenger, was foliar applied to three-week-old cucumber plants (1 or 2 mg/plant) before exposure to copper ions (5 mg/plant). Results showed that C60 fullerols augmented Cu toxicity by increasing the influx of Cu ions into cells (170% and 511%, respectively, for 1 and 2 mg of C60 fullerols/plant). We further use metabolomics and proteomics to investigate the mechanism of plant response to C60 fullerols. Metabolomics revealed that C60 fullerols up-regulated antioxidant metabolites including 3-hydroxyflavone, 1,2,4-benzenetriol, and methyl trans-cinnamate, among others, while it down-regulated cell membrane metabolites (linolenic and palmitoleic acid). Proteomics analysis revealed that C60 fullerols up-regulated chloroplast proteins involved in water photolysis (PSII protein), light-harvesting (CAB), ATP production (ATP synthase), pigment fixation (Mg-PPIX), and electron transport ( Cyt b6f). Chlorophyll fluorescence measurement showed that C60 fullerols significantly accelerated the electron transport rate in leaves (13.3% and 9.4%, respectively, for 1 and 2 mg C60 fullerols/plant). The global view of the metabolic pathway network suggests that C60 fullerols accelerated electron transport rate, which induced ROS overproduction in chloroplast thylakoids. Plant activated antioxidant and defense pathways to protect the cell from ROS damaging. The revealed benefit (enhance electron transport) and risk (alter membrane composition) suggest a cautious use of C60 fullerols for agricultural application.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.8b06758DOI Listing
February 2019

A comparative metagenomic and spectroscopic analysis of soils from an international point of entry between the US and Mexico.

Environ Int 2019 02 8;123:558-566. Epub 2019 Jan 8.

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West University Avenue, El Paso, TX 79968, USA; Environmental Science and Engineering Ph.D. program, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West University Avenue, El Paso, TX 79968, USA; UC Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (UC CEIN), The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West University Avenue, El Paso, TX 79968, USA; NSF-ERC Nanotechnology-Enabled Water Treatment Center (NEWT), USA. Electronic address:

The Paso del Norte region is characterized by its dynamic industries and active agriculture. Throughout the years, urban and agricultural soils from this region have been exposed to xenobiotics, heavy metals, and excess of hydrocarbons. In this study, samples of urban [domestic workshops (DW)] and agricultural-intended (AI) soils from different sites of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico were evaluated for their fertility, element content, and microbial diversity. Chemical analyses showed that nitrites, nitrates, P, K, Mg, and Mn were predominantly higher in AI soils, compared to DW soils (p ≤ 0.05). The composition of soil microbial communities showed that Proteobacteria phylum was the most abundant in both soils (67%, p ≤ 0.05). In AI soils, Paracoccus denitrificans was reduced (p ≤ 0.05), concurring with an increment in nitrates, while the content of nitrogen was negatively correlated with the rhizobium group (r = -0.65, p ≤ 0.05). In DW soils, the Firmicutes phylum represented up to ~25%, and the relative abundance of Proteobacteria strongly correlated with a higher Cu content (r = 0.99, p ≤ 0.0001). The monotypic genus Sulfuricurvum was found only in oil-contaminated soil samples. Finally, all samples showed the presence of the recently created phylum Candidatus saccharibacteria. These results describe the productivity parameters of AI soils and its correlation to the microbial diversity, which are very important to understand and potentiate the productivity of soils. The data also suggest that soils impacted with hydrocarbons and metal(oid)s allow the reproduction of microorganisms with the potential to alleviate contaminated sites.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2018.12.055DOI Listing
February 2019

Toxicity of copper hydroxide nanoparticles, bulk copper hydroxide, and ionic copper to alfalfa plants: A spectroscopic and gene expression study.

Environ Pollut 2018 Dec 8;243(Pt A):703-712. Epub 2018 Sep 8.

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West University Avenue, El Paso, TX, 79968, USA; Environmental Science and Engineering Ph.D. program, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West University Avenue, El Paso, TX, 79968, USA; UC Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (UC CEIN), The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West University Avenue, El Paso, TX, 79968, USA. Electronic address:

Bulk Cu compounds such as Cu(OH) are extensively used as pesticides in agriculture. Recent investigations suggest that Cu-based nanomaterials can replace bulk materials reducing the environmental impacts of Cu. In this study, stress responses of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) seedlings to Cu(OH) nanoparticle or compounds were evaluated. Seeds were immersed in suspension/solutions of a Cu(OH) nanoform, bulk Cu(OH), CuSO, and Cu(NO) at 25 and 75 mg/L. Six days later, the germination, seedling growth, and the physiological and biochemical responses of sprouts were evaluated. All Cu treatments significantly reduced root elongation (average = 63%). The ionic compounds at 25 and 75 mg/L caused a reduction in all elements analyzed (Ca, K, Mg, P, Zn, and Mn), excepting for S, Fe and Mo. The bulk-Cu(OH) treatment reduced K (48%) and P (52%) at 75 mg/L, but increased Zn at 25 (18%) and 75 (21%) mg/L. The nano-Cu(OH) reduced K (46%) and P (48%) at 75 mg/L, and also P (37%) at 25 mg/L, compared with control. Confocal microscopy images showed that all Cu compounds, at 75 mg/L, significantly reduced nitric oxide, concurring with the reduction in root growth. Nano Cu(OH) at 25 mg/L upregulated the expression of the Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase gene (1.92-fold), while ionic treatments at 75 mg/L upregulated (∼10-fold) metallothionein (MT) transcripts. Results demonstrated that nano and bulk Cu(OH) compounds caused less physiological impairments in comparison to the ionic ones in alfalfa seedlings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2018.09.028DOI Listing
December 2018

ZnO nanoparticles increase photosynthetic pigments and decrease lipid peroxidation in soil grown cilantro (Coriandrum sativum).

Plant Physiol Biochem 2018 Nov 29;132:120-127. Epub 2018 Aug 29.

Environmental Science and Engineering PhD Program, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West Univ. Ave., El Paso, TX, 79968, USA; Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West Univ. Ave., El Paso, TX, 79968, USA; University of California Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (UC CEIN), The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West Univ. Ave., El Paso, TX, 79968, USA; The Center for Nanotechnology and Agricultural Pathogen Suppression (CeNAPS), New Haven, CT, 06511, United States. Electronic address:

The growth of the nanotechnology industry has raised concerns about its environmental impacts. In particular, the effect on terrestrial plants, which are the primary producers of the global food chain, is widely debated. In this study, cilantro plants (Coriandrum sativum) were cultivated for 35 days in soil amended with ZnO nanoparticles (N ZnO), bulk ZnO (B ZnO) and ZnCl (ionic/I Zn) at 0-400 mg/kg. Photosynthetic pigments, lipid peroxidation, NMR-based metabolic, and ICP-based metallomic profiles were evaluated. All Zn compounds increased the chlorophyll content by at least 50%, compared to control. Only N ZnO at 400 mg/kg decreased lipid peroxidation by 70%. NMR data showed that all compounds significantly changed the carbinolic-based compounds, compared with control. Highest root and shoot uptake of Zn was observed at B 400 and I 100, respectively. Results of this study corroborates that N ZnO at a concentration <400 mg/kg improved photosynthesis pigments and the defense response in cilantro plants cultivated in organic soil.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.plaphy.2018.08.037DOI Listing
November 2018

Exposure to Weathered and Fresh Nanoparticle and Ionic Zn in Soil Promotes Grain Yield and Modulates Nutrient Acquisition in Wheat ( Triticum aestivum L.).

J Agric Food Chem 2018 Sep 10;66(37):9645-9656. Epub 2018 Sep 10.

The Center for Nanotechnology and Agricultural Pathogen Suppression (CeNAPS) , New Haven , Connecticut 06511 , United States.

This study evaluated weathered and fresh ZnO-nanoparticles and Zn-salt effects on nutrient acquisition and redistribution in wheat. Weathered and fresh ZnO-nanoparticles and Zn-salt significantly increased grain yield by 15% and 29%, respectively. Postharvest soil acidification indicated ZnO-nanoparticles dissolved during growth. Zn was significantly bioaccumulated from both Zn types, but with low root-to-shoot bioaccumulation efficiency: 24% and 20% for weathered nanoparticles and salt, and 48% and 30% for fresh nanoparticles and salt. Grain Zn content was increased 186% and 229% by weathered nanoparticles and salt, and 229% and 300% by fresh nanoparticles and salt. Shoot-to-grain translocation efficiency was high: 167% and 177% for weathered nanoparticles and salt, and 209% and 155% for fresh nanoparticles and salt. However, Zincon assay indicated grain Zn does not exist as ions. This study demonstrates that ZnO-nanoparticles and Zn-salt vary in their effects on nutrient acquisition in wheat, with relevance for biofortification of Zn for human nutrition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jafc.8b03840DOI Listing
September 2018

Finding the conditions for the beneficial use of ZnO nanoparticles towards plants-A review.

Environ Pollut 2018 Oct 12;241:1175-1181. Epub 2018 Jun 12.

Environmental Science and Engineering PhD Program, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West Univ. Ave, El Paso, TX, 79968, USA; Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West Univ. Ave, El Paso, TX, 79968, USA; University of California Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (UC CEIN), The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West Univ. Ave, El Paso, TX, 79968, USA; The Center for Nanotechnology and Agricultural Pathogen Suppression (CeNAPS), USA. Electronic address:

Zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs) have a wide range of applications in cosmetics, electrical, and optical industries. The wide range of applications of ZnO NPs, especially in personal care products, suggest they can reach major environmental matrices causing unforeseen effects. Recent literature has shown conflicting findings regarding the beneficial or detrimental effects of ZnO NPs towards terrestrial biota. In this review we carried out a comprehensive survey about beneficial, as well as detrimental aspects, of the ZnO NPs exposure toward various terrestrial plants. A careful scrutiny of the literature indicates that at low concentrations (about 50 mg/kg), ZnO NPs have beneficial effects on plants. Conversely, at concentrations above 500 mg/kg they may have detrimental effects, unless there is a deficiency of Zn in the growing medium. This review also remarks the critical role of the biotic and abiotic factors that may elevate or ameliorate the impact of ZnO NPs in terrestrial plants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2018.06.036DOI Listing
October 2018

Plant uptake and translocation of contaminants of emerging concern in soil.

Sci Total Environ 2018 Sep 21;636:1585-1596. Epub 2018 May 21.

Environmental Science and Engineering PhD Program, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West Univ. Ave., El Paso, TX 79968, USA; Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West Univ. Ave., El Paso, TX 79968, USA; University of California Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (UC CEIN), The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West Univ. Ave., El Paso, TX 79968, USA; The Center for Nanotechnology and Agricultural Pathogen Suppression (CeNAPS), The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West Univ. Ave., El Paso, TX 79968, USA. Electronic address:

The advent of industrialization has led to the discovery of a wide range of chemicals designed for multiple uses including plant protection. However, after use, most of the chemicals and their derivatives end up in soil and water, interacting with living organisms. Plants, which are primary producers, are intentionally or unintentionally exposed to several chemicals, serving as a vehicle for the transfer of products into the food chain. Although the exposure of pesticides towards plants has been witnessed over a long time in agricultural production, other chemicals have attracted attention very recently. In this review, we carried out a comprehensive overview of the plant uptake capacity of various contaminants of emerging concern (CEC) in soil, such as pesticides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, perfluorinated compounds, pharmaceutical and personal care products, and engineered nanomaterials. The uptake pathways and overall impacts of these chemicals are highlighted. According to the literature, bioaccumulation of CEC in the root part is higher than in aerial parts. Furthermore, various factors such as plant species, pollutant type, and microbial interactions influence the overall uptake. Lastly, environmental factors such as soil erosion and temperature can also affect the CEC bioavailability towards plants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.04.375DOI Listing
September 2018

Different forms of copper and kinetin impacted element accumulation and macromolecule contents in kidney bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) seeds.

Sci Total Environ 2018 Sep 9;636:1534-1540. Epub 2018 May 9.

Environmental Science and Engineering Ph.D. Program, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 W. University Avenue, El Paso 79968, TX, United States; Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 W. University Avenue, El Paso 79968, TX, United States; University of California Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (UC CEIN), The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West University Ave., El Paso 79968, TX, United States. Electronic address:

The relationship between engineered nanomaterials and plant biostimulants is unclear. In this study, kidney bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) plants were grown to maturity (90 days) in soil amended with nano copper (nCu), bulk copper (bCu), or copper chloride (CuCl) at 0, 50, or 100 mg kg, then watered with 0, 10, or 100 μM of kinetin (KN). Seeds were harvested and analyzed via ICP-OES and biochemical assays. While seed production was largely unaffected, nutritional value was significantly impacted. Accumulation of Cu was enhanced by 5-10% from controls by Cu-based treatments. Fe was the only macro/microelement significantly altered by nCu, which was ~29% lower than seeds from untreated plants. All forms of Cu combined with 10 μM KN reduced Mg from 9 to 12%. Application of KN plus bCu or CuCl elevated concentrations of Mn (31-41%) and S (19-22%), respectively. Protein content of seeds was stimulated (11-12%) by bCu, on average, and depressed by CuCl + KN (up to 22%). Variations in sugar and starch content were insignificant, compared to controls. Our results indicate that the interaction Cu × KN significantly altered the nutritional value of common beans, which has potential implications to agricultural practices incorporating Cu as either a pesticide or fertilizer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.04.360DOI Listing
September 2018

Metabolomics Reveals How Cucumber ( Cucumis sativus) Reprograms Metabolites To Cope with Silver Ions and Silver Nanoparticle-Induced Oxidative Stress.

Environ Sci Technol 2018 07 28;52(14):8016-8026. Epub 2018 Jun 28.

State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resource Reuse, School of Environment , Nanjing University , Nanjing 210023 , China.

Due to their well-known antifungal activity, the intentional use of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) as sustainable nanofungicides is expected to increase in agriculture. However, the impacts of AgNPs on plants must be critically evaluated to guarantee their safe use in food production. In this study, 4-week-old cucumber ( Cucumis sativus) plants received a foliar application of AgNPs (4 or 40 mg/plant) or Ag (0.04 or 0.4 mg/plant) for 7 days. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS)=based nontarget metabolomics enabled the identification and quantification of 268 metabolites in cucumber leaves. Multivariate analysis revealed that all the treatments significantly altered the metabolite profile. Exposure to AgNPs resulted in metabolic reprogramming, including activation of antioxidant defense systems (upregulation of phenolic compounds) and downregulation of photosynthesis (upregulation of phytol). Additionally, AgNPs enhanced respiration (upregulation of tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates), inhibited photorespiration (downregulation of glycine/serine ratio), altered membrane properties (upregulation of pentadecanoic and arachidonic acids, downregulation of linoleic and linolenic acids), and reduced inorganic nitrogen fixation (downregulation of glutamine and asparagine). Although Ag ions induced some of the same metabolic changes, alterations in the levels of carbazole, lactulose, raffinose, citraconic acid, lactamide, acetanilide, and p-benzoquinone were AgNP-specific. The results of this study offer new insight into the molecular mechanisms by which cucumber responds to AgNP exposure and provide important information to support the sustainable use of AgNPs in agriculture.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.8b02440DOI Listing
July 2018