Phytotoxicity of nanoparticles: inhibition of seed germination and root growth.

Research paper by Daohui D Lin, Baoshan B Xing

Indexed on: 22 Mar '07Published on: 22 Mar '07Published in: Environmental Pollution


Plants need to be included to develop a comprehensive toxicity profile for nanoparticles. Effects of five types of nanoparticles (multi-walled carbon nanotube, aluminum, alumina, zinc, and zinc oxide) on seed germination and root growth of six higher plant species (radish, rape, ryegrass, lettuce, corn, and cucumber) were investigated. Seed germination was not affected except for the inhibition of nanoscale zinc (nano-Zn) on ryegrass and zinc oxide (nano-ZnO) on corn at 2000 mg/L. Inhibition on root growth varied greatly among nanoparticles and plants. Suspensions of 2000 mg/L nano-Zn or nano-ZnO practically terminated root elongation of the tested plant species. Fifty percent inhibitory concentrations (IC50) of nano-Zn and nano-ZnO were estimated to be near 50mg/L for radish, and about 20mg/L for rape and ryegrass. The inhibition occurred during the seed incubation process rather than seed soaking stage. These results are significant in terms of use and disposal of engineered nanoparticles.