Physiological effects of magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles towards watermelon.

Li, J., Chang, P.R., Huang, J., Wang, Y., Yuan, H., and Ren, H. (2013). "Physiological effects of magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles towards watermelon.", Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, 13(8), pp. 5561-5567. doi : 10.1166/jnn.2013.7533  Access to full text

Abstract

Nanoparticles (NPs) have been exploited in a diverse range of products in the past decade or so. However, the biosafety/environmental impact or legislation pertaining to this newly created, highly functional composites containing NPs (otherwise called nanomaterials) is generally lagging behind their technological innovation. To advance the agenda in this area, our current primary interest is focused on using crops as model systems as they have very close relationship with us. Thus, the objective of the present study was to evaluate the biological effects of magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles towards watermelon seedlings. We have systematically studied the physiological effects of Fe2O3 nanoparticles (nano- Fe2O3) on watermelon, and present the first evidence that a significant amount of Fe2O3 nanoparticles suspended in a liquid medium can be taken up by watermelon plants and translocated throughout the plant tissues. Changes in important physiological indicators, such as root activity, activity of catalase (CAT), peroxidase (POD) and superoxide dismutase (SOD), chlorophyll and malondialdehyde (MDA) contents, ferric reductase activity, root apoplastic iron content were clearly presented. Different concentrations of nano-Fe2O3 all increased seed germination, seedling growth, and enhanced physiological function to some degree; and the positive effects increased quickly and then slowed with an increase in the treatment concentrations. Changes in CAT, SOD and POD activities due to nano- Fe2O3 were significantly larger than that of the control. The 20 mg/L treatment had the most obvious effect on the increase of root activity. Ferric reductase activity, root apoplastic iron content, and watermelon biomass were significantly affected by exposure to nano- Fe2O3. Results of statistical analysis showed that there were significant differences in all the above indexes between the treatment at optimal concentration and the control. This proved that the proper concentration of nano-Fe2O3 could not only increase seed germination and seedling growth, but also ultimately improve physiological function and resistance to environmental stresses of watermelon.

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