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Uptake and toxicity studies of magnetic TiO2-Based nanophotocatalyst in Arabidopsis thaliana

Zhang, Weilan, Yu, Zhigang, Rao, Pinhua, Lo, Irene M.C.
Chemosphere 2019 v.224 pp. 658-667
Arabidopsis thaliana, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, adenosine triphosphate, adverse effects, bioaccumulation, biomass, biosensors, cellulose, energy, environmental impact, food chain, hemicellulose, humans, hydroponics, leaves, lipids, magnetism, mesophyll, pectins, phosphates, physiology, proteins, roots, silica, toxicity, toxicity testing, vascular tissues
Information on the environmental impact of magnetic TiO2-based nanophotocatalysts is scarce. This study evaluated the potential effects of an innovative magnetic nanophotocatalyst N-TiO2/Fe3O4@SiO2 (NTFS) on plants using Arabidopsis thaliana grown in a hydroponic system. NTFS was detected in the vascular tissues and mesophyll of plants, thus confirming the uptake and upwards transport of NTFS from roots to leaves. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy was applied to determine compositional and structural alterations in plant tissues exposed to NTFS, or its two main components (N-TiO2 and Fe3O4@SiO2), at concentrations ranging from 0 to 1000 mg/L, but no changes were detected in the lipids, pectins, proteins, cellulose, hemicellulose, and carbohydrates. The morphology and biomass of the plants were not affected by the NTFS or its components either. Biosensors for inorganic phosphate (Pi) and MgATP2− were used to monitor the in vivo Pi and MgATP2− levels in the plant cells. The results showed that NTFS and its components did not induce any adverse effects on the cytosolic Pi level or ATP synthesis, indicating the energy physiology of Arabidopsis was unaffected. In general, NTFS has inconsequential toxic effects on Arabidopsis, but can be taken up by plants, enter the food chain, and cause potential exposure and bioaccumulation in animals and human beings.