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Discovery of nano-sized gold particles in natural plant tissues

Luo, Xiaoen, Cao, Jianjin
Environmental chemistry letters 2018 v.16 no.4 pp. 1441-1448
Boehmeria nivea, Conyza canadensis, absorption, bioactive properties, copper, copper nanoparticles, gold, nanogold, plant tissues, stems, transmission electron microscopy, China
Biological effects of nanoparticles have attracted widespread attention. However, the interaction between plants and nanoparticles remains unclear. The purpose of this study was to investigate characteristics of nano-sized metal particles in two representative plant species, Erigeron canadensis and Boehmeria nivea, in the Guangdong Province, China. The stems of the plants were sliced and placed on Ni–C grids for field-emission transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The metal-bearing nanoparticles were further analysed for their size, shape, composition, content and other characteristics using X-ray energy spectrum analysis, scanning TEM and selected-area electron diffraction pattern. The results revealed that the plants contain nano-sized Au-bearing particles with a diameter of 5–50 nm, ellipsoid, spherical and bone-rod shapes or irregular morphology with smooth edges. These nanoparticles primarily consisted of Au, Cu, O and Cl. The discovery of Au-bearing nanoparticles in natural plant tissues is of great significance for biological nanoscience. Here, we discuss the function and absorption mechanism of Au-bearing nanoparticles in plants and present the influence of the discovery of Au-bearing nanoparticles in natural plants.