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Effects of gold and silver nanoparticle exposure in the cultivation of beans and garlic sprouts by laser ablation- and single particle-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry

Grant number: 23/13392-6
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): March 18, 2024
Effective date (End): March 17, 2025
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Chemistry - Analytical Chemistry
Principal Investigator:Cassiana Seimi Nomura
Grantee:Aline Pereira de Oliveira
Supervisor: Frank Vanhaecke
Host Institution: Instituto de Química (IQ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: Ghent University (UGent), Belgium  
Associated to the scholarship:22/02167-9 - Study on the influence of gold and silver nanoparticles on essential elements distribution in garlic (Allium sativum) and bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) sprouts, BP.PD


Increasing global production and application of nanomaterials for biological and industrial purposes escalate their release into the environment, raising ecological and public health concerns. Nanomaterial such as silver and gold nanoparticles, present in the growth medium, are potentially taken up by plant roots and then translocated to edible parts. In this way, nanomaterial may enter the food chain. As metallic nanoparticles may cause adverse effects in different plant species, there is a great encouragement for the scientific community to obtain information on translocation and accumulation of nanoparticles in food crops. Additionally, potential competition between metallic nanoparticles and essential elements must also be considered, since antagonistic relationships may lead to the production of nutrient-deficient plants, as well as foods with lower nutritional value. The development of analytical methods that provide information on the two-dimensional distribution of metallic nanoparticles in plant material may help to elucidate the mechanisms of absorption, mobility and competition for binding sites within plant tissues. Laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) is an emerging analytical tool that allows high-resolution mapping of trace metals and metalloids in plant tissue. In addition, detection and characterization of nanoscale particles in roots and above-ground tissues, thus providing insight into their distribution, size, composition, and dispersion, is also highly relevant; ICP-MS operated in single particle mode combined with laser ablation sampling (LA-(SP-)ICP-MS) is a powerful and innovative tool for simultaneously and accurately revealing the distribution of metals and metalloids in either particulate or dissolved form. In this study, AuNPs-, AgNPs- and metal ions-exposed common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) and garlic (Allium sativum) sprouts will be assessed. Thus, analytical methods for revealing the distribution of Au and Ag in plant tissue via LA-ICP-MS will be developed and applied to evaluate the influence of AuNPs and AgNPs exposure on essential micronutrients translocation in above-ground tissues of the plants. This research project also envisages the quantitative characterization of AuNPs and AgNPs as well as non-particulate Ag and Au in roots and shoots from nanoparticles-exposed plants by LA-(SP-)ICP-MS. Different sample preparation protocols and novel analytical methods will be developed for both elemental and NPs mapping; optimization of instrumental parameters and data acquisition conditions will be performed as well. Such investigations by LA-ICP-MS and LA-(SP-)ICP-MS may complement each other in terms of metallic nanoparticles exposure effects. Thus, a deeper understanding of the uptake of nanoparticles by these plants, and their accumulation and fate in these plants will be achieved, which is very important in the field of both the environmental sciences and food science.

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