Chemical biology news from across RSC Publishing.
Pumpkin plants pick-up particles
29 May 2008
US scientists have shown that plants can absorb nanoparticles from their environment - meaning that the particles could find their way into the human food chain, the researchers claim.
Pumpkin plants can take up iron oxide particles through their roots and accumulate them in their leaves
Yan Jin and colleagues at the University of Delaware, in Newark, found that pumpkin plants can take up nanoparticles through their roots and that the particles are transported around the plant. The study is part of an effort to assess nanoparticles' environmental and biological fate if they are released into soil or groundwater, says Jin.
Jin points out that despite rapid developments in nanotechnology in recent years, investigations into the environmental and health impacts of nanomaterials are still in their infancy. While researchers have looked increasingly at nanoparticle toxicity to human cells, bacteria and rodents, until now very few have examined the particles' effects on ecological species such as plants. Since nanoparticles can be highly toxic 'it is imperative that we conduct more comprehensive studies to evaluate the potential risk of nanoparticle accumulation in the food chain by plant uptake of nanoparticles from soil, sediments, and water bodies,' explains Jin.
- Chuanyi Wang
Link to journal article
Uptake, translocation, and accumulation of manufactured iron oxide nanoparticles by pumpkin plants
Hao Zhu, Jie Han, John Q. Xiao and Yan Jin, J. Environ. Monit., 2008, 10, 713
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