Publication details

Influence of surface modification and size of lanthanide-doped upconverting nanoparticles on wheat seedlings

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Year of publication 2024
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Chemosphere
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Keywords Upconverting nanomaterials; Phytotoxicity; Plants; Bioimaging; Nanotoxicity; Surface functionalisation
Description In recent years, nanotechnology has found widespread applications in environmental monitoring, medical applications, plant fertilisers, cosmetics and others. Therefore, it is important to study nanomaterials' influence and subsequent risks to the environment and organisms (from production to disposal). Therefore, in the present study, the toxic effects of two surface modifications (poly (ethylene glycol)-neridronate, PEG-Ner and poly (acrylic acid), PAA) in comparison to unmodified, 26 nm- and 52 nm-sized core@shell lanthanide-doped upconverting nanoparticles (UCNPs, NaYF4:Yb3+,Er3+@NaYF4) were analysed. Wheat seedlings (Triticum aestivum L.) were chosen as a model organism since this species is one of the most widely cultivated crops. The influence of UCNPs (at concentrations of 0, 10, 50, and 100 µg/mL) on germination percentage, germination rate and growth was studied based on morphological parameters such as root number, root and hypocotyl length, and root and hypocotyl mass. In addition, an assay based on Evans blue staining was conducted to analyse damaged cell membranes and cell death. The type, size and concentration of UCNPs influenced the growth but not the germination of wheat. 52-nm-sized ligand-free UCNPs and the 26-nm-sized UCNPs/PAA decreased plant growth. Moreover, the ligand-free 26-nm-sized UCNPs interacted with the root cell membranes of seedlings. No significant changes were observable regarding viability (tetrazolium chloride reduction assay), oxidative stress and electrolyte leakage from root cells in plants incubated with ligand-free 26-nm-sized UCNPs. Overall, we have shown that the ligand-free UCNPs (of both sizes) had the strongest toxic effect; PAA-modified UCNPs were toxic only at smaller sizes and PEG-Ner-modified UCNPs had no toxic impact. Therefore, PEG-Ner was identified as the safest surface compound among the UCNPs investigated in the study, which may neutralise the harmful effects of nanoparticles on plants.
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