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Alteration of Crop Yield and Quality of Wheat upon Exposure to Silver Nanoparticles in a Life Cycle Study

Yang, Jie, Jiang, Fuping, Ma, Chuanxin, Rui, Yukui, Rui, Mengmeng, Adeel, Muhammad, Cao, Weidong, Xing, Baoshan
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2018 v.66 no.11 pp. 2589-2597
Triticum aestivum, amino acid composition, arginine, biomass, copper, crop quality, crops, ecosystems, food quality, histidine, human health, iron, nanoparticles, nanosilver, phytotoxicity, plant height, protein content, roots, shoots, silver, soil, wheat, zinc
As a result of the rapid development of nanotechnology, metal-based nanoparticles (NPs) are inadvertently released into the environment and may pose a potential threat to the ecosystem. However, information for food quality and safety in NP-treated crops is limited. In the present study, wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) was grown in different concentrations of Ag-NP-amended soil (20, 200, and 2000 mg kg–¹) for 4 months. At harvest, physiological parameters, Ag and micronutrient (Fe, Cu, and Zn) contents, and amino acid and total protein contents were measured. Results showed that, with increasing the exposure doses, Ag NPs exhibited severe phytotoxicity, including lower biomass, shorter plant height, and lower grain weight. Ag accumulation in roots was significantly higher than that in shoots and grains. Decreases in the content of micronutrients (Fe, Cu, and Zn) in Ag-NP-treated grains suggested low crop quality. The results of amino acid and protein contents in Ag-NP-treated wheat grains indicated that Ag NPs indeed altered the nutrient contents in the edible portion. In the amino acid profile, the presence of Ag NPs significantly decreased the contents of arginine and histidine by 13.0 and 11.8%, respectively. In summary, the effects of metal-based NPs on the edible portion of crops should be taken into account in the evaluation of nanotoxicity to terrestrial plants. Moreover, investigation of the potential impacts of NP-caused nutrient alterations on human health could further our understandings on NP-induced phytotoxicity.