. Energy News .

Study finds evidence nanoparticles may increase plant DNA damage
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Apr 24, 2012

Graphic showing that increasing exposure to cupric oxide bulk particles (BPs) and nanoparticles (NPs) by radish plants also increases the impact on growth with NPs showing the largest impact. From left to right, the exposure concentrations are 0; 100 parts per million (ppm) BPs; 1,000 ppm BPs; 100 ppm NPs; and 1,000 ppm NPs (showing a severely stunted plant). Credit: H. Wang, US Environmental Protection Agency.

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) have provided the first evidence that engineered nanoparticles are able to accumulate within plants and damage their DNA.

In a recent paper, the team led by NIST chemist Bryant C. Nelson showed that under laboratory conditions, cupric oxide nanoparticles have the capacity to enter plant root cells and generate many mutagenic DNA base lesions.

The team tested the man-made, ultrafine particles between 1 and 100 nanometers in size on a human food crop, the radish, and two species of common groundcovers used by grazing animals, perennial and annual ryegrass.

This research is part of NIST's work to help characterize the potential environmental, health and safety (EHS) risks of nanomaterials, and develop methods for identifying and measuring them.

Cupric oxide (also known as copper (II) oxide or CuO) is a compound that has been used for many years as a pigment for coloring glass and ceramics, as a polish for optics, and as a catalyst in the manufacture of rayon.

Cupric oxide also is a strong conductor of electric current, a property enhanced at the nanoscale level, which makes the nanoparticle form useful to semiconductor manufacturers.

Because cupric oxide is an oxidizing agent-a reactive chemical that removes electrons from other compounds-it may pose a risk. Oxidation caused by metal oxides has been shown to induce DNA damage in certain organisms.

What Nelson and his colleagues wanted to learn was whether nanosizing cupric oxide made the generation and accumulation of DNA lesions more or less likely in plants. If the former, the researchers also wanted to find out if nanosizing had any substantial effects on plant growth and health.

To obtain the answers, the NIST/UMass researchers first exposed radishes and the two ryegrasses to both cupric oxide nanoparticles and larger sized cupric oxide particles (bigger than 100 nanometers) as well as to simple copper ions.

They then used a pair of highly sensitive spectrographic techniques to evaluate the formation and accumulation of DNA base lesions and to determine if and how much copper was taken up by the plants.

For the radishes, twice as many lesions were induced in plants exposed to nanoparticles as were in those exposed to the larger particles. Additionally, the cellular uptake of copper from the nanoparticles was significantly greater than the uptake of copper from the larger particles.

The DNA damage profiles for the ryegrasses differed from the radish profiles, indicating that nanoparticle-induced DNA damage is dependent on the plant species and on the nanoparticle concentration.

Finally, the researchers showed that cupric oxide nanoparticles had a significant effect on growth, stunting the development of both roots and shoots in all three plant species tested. The nanoparticle concentrations used in this study were higher than those likely to be encountered by plants under a typical soil exposure scenario.

"To our knowledge, this is first evidence that there could be a 'nano-based effect' for cupric oxide in the environment where size plays a role in the increased generation and accumulation of numerous mutagenic DNA lesions in plants," Nelson says.

Next up for Nelson and his colleagues is a similar study looking at the impact of titanium dioxide nanoparticles-such as those used in many sunscreens-on rice plants.

D.H. Atha, H. Wang, E.J. Petersen, D. Cleveland, R.D. Holbrook, P. Jaruga, M. Dizdaroglu, B. Xing and B.C. Nelson. Copper oxide nanoparticle mediated DNA damage in terrestrial plant models. Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 46 (3): pages 1819-1827 (2012), DOI: 10.1021/es202660k. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) to detect base lesions and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) to measure copper uptake.

Related Links
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Farming Today - Suppliers and Technology

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries


. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Genetically modified corn affects its symbiotic relationship with non-target soil organisms
Washington DC (SPX) Apr 24, 2012
An increasing number of crops commercially grown today are genetically modified (GM) to resist insect pests and/or tolerate herbicides. Although Bt corn is one of the most commonly grown GM crops in the United States, little is known about its effects on the long-term health of soils. Although there are many benefits to using biotechnology in agriculture, such as potentially reducing insec ... read more

CarbonSat - On the trail of greenhouse gases

DigitalGlobe Unveils New Details of WorldView-3 Satellite

Boeing Releases DataMaster 5.1 Geospatial Data Management Tool

Investigation on Envisat continues

SSTL delivers payload for first Galileo FOC satellite

GPS could aid in earthquake warnings

Russia to Test Second Glonass-K Satellite in 2013

Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Complete Major GPS Integration Milestone

Saving forests? Take a leaf from insurance industry's book

Improved Loblolly Pines Better for the Environment

Eight native Mexicans shot dead defending forest

DMCii's detailed satellite imagery helps Brazil stamp out deforestation as it happens

Climate change, biofuels mandate would cause corn price spikes

How the Ecological Risks of Extended Bioenergy Production can be Reduced

Optimizing biofuel supply chain is a competitive game

ANA Celebrate First 787 Biofuel Flight

Geostellar Teams with GeoEye to Map the Solar Power Potential of Every Rooftop in the United States

The solar cell that also shines: Luminescent 'LED-type' design breaks efficiency record

La Vina Ranch and SPG Solar Install Solar to Power Cold Storage Facility

1.5MW Solar Generation Project from Constellation Energy Dedicated in New Jersey

British engineering firm creates 1,000 wind farm jobs

Cape Wind picks contractors for wind farm

Reducing cash bite of wind power

GDF SUEZ, VINCI, CDC Infrastructure and AREVA mobilized for offshore wind power

Nine die in China coal mine blast

Buy coal? New analysis shows purchasing fossil fuel deposits best way to fight climate change

At least 15 dead in two China mine floods

Coal India faces government pressure

China punishes eight ex-officials of rebel village

China probes Bo family's H.K. investments: report

Dalai Lama laments latest Tibetan self-immolations

Angry villagers kill policeman in China riot

Memory Foam Mattress Review

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement