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Effect of silica nanoparticles on Cowpea plants under heat stress: insights into photosynthesis (Rubisco)

Grant number: 23/03575-6
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): June 30, 2023
Effective date (End): January 31, 2024
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Botany - Pant Physiology
Principal Investigator:Ricardo Antunes de Azevedo
Grantee:Jaqueline da Silva Santos
Supervisor: Elizabete Carmo-Silva
Host Institution: Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz (ESALQ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Piracicaba , SP, Brazil
Research place: Lancaster University, England  
Associated to the scholarship:22/00045-3 - Antioxidant stress responses of soybean plants grown in the presence of nanoparticles project (18/25207-0): Nanometalomics applied to soybean cultivation, BP.PD


The greenhouse effect has made high-temperature events more frequent, which strongly affects plant productivity. Heat stress affects chloroplasts and inactivates proteins, including Rubisco. This can cause redox imbalance, loss of photosynthetic efficiency, decreased CO2 assimilation, and possibly cell death. Agriculture plays a crucial role in food and the global economy. Specifically, soy is the main Brazilian crop, serving as raw material for several products of worldwide interest. Therefore, circumventing the damage caused by climate in this crop is a challenge. Silicon and silicon nanoparticles (SiO2-NPs) are considered beneficial for the growth and development of higher plants under normal conditions, and in plants under stress, these compounds are described as mitigating various types of stress, including high temperatures. However, the physiological rationale behind silicon-mediated heat tolerance in plants is largely unknown. Therefore, I propose in this project to investigate changes in the photosynthesis of soybean plants under heat stress treated with silica. I aim to test whether SiO2-NPs offer a better mitigation effect on thermal stress when compared to conventional, non-nanometric silica. Information about the effects of SiO2-NPs on plants is important for both agriculture and environmental safety. (AU)

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