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Exposure of Cucurbita pepo to binary combinations of engineered nanomaterials: Physiological and molecular response


Although engineered nanomaterial (ENM) uptake, transport and response mechanisms in plants have received increased attention in the recent years, many questions regarding ENM risks to the environment and to food safety remain unanswered. The impact of ENM interactions with co-existing organic/inorganic contaminants, including secondary ENMs, remains poorly understood. The physiological and molecular response of zucchini (Cucurbita pepo L.) under conditions of nanomaterial combined treatments (NMCT) with binary combinations of nanoparticle (NP) cerium oxide (CeO2), lanthanum oxide (La2O3), copper oxide (CuO), zinc oxide (ZnO) (500 mg L−1) and cadmium sulfide quantum dots (CdS QDs) (100 mg L−1) were tested (for 21 days, in vermiculite) and compared with respective individual (NMIT) and bulk material (BMT) treatments. ICP-MS results within specific tissues upon exposure to NMCT or NMIT demonstrated that metal content varied significantly upon co-exposure, including instances of antagonistic effects: La uptake was significantly decreased (50~80%, compared to NMIT or to NMCT) upon CeO2 NP co-exposure whereas La2O3 NP caused a complete deregulation (2~5-fold higher) of Cu uptake upon CuO NP co-exposure. Expression analysis of genes previously shown as responsive to ENM exposure confirmed the involvement of the chloroplast in plant response: ORF31, an electron carrier down-regulated in all treatments, showed potential as a biomarker of exposure/effect. Principal component analysis on plant physiological and molecular response provided insight into the nature of phytotoxicity under NMIT and NMCT. This systematic approach is useful for characterizing the risk associated with ENMs, providing mechanistic interpretations and holistic perspectives for complex systems of contamination.

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Publication details

The article was received on 10 Mar 2017, accepted on 05 Jun 2017 and first published on 08 Jun 2017

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7EN00219J
Citation: Environ. Sci.: Nano, 2017, Accepted Manuscript
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    Exposure of Cucurbita pepo to binary combinations of engineered nanomaterials: Physiological and molecular response

    L. Pagano, F. Pasquali, S. Majumdar, R. De La Torre, N. Zuverza-Mena, M. Villani, A. Zappettini, R. E. Marra, S. Isch, M. Marmiroli, E. Maestri, O. P. Dhankher, J. White and N. Marmiroli, Environ. Sci.: Nano, 2017, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C7EN00219J

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