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X-rays reveal uptake of nanoparticles by soya bean crops
Date:2/6/2013

ants, it didn't come as a surprise that zinc from the nanoparticles in the soil can enter into the plant tissue. But plants can also assimilate more dangerous elements like cadmium or arsenic which, when used in nanoparticles, might pose a real threat." says Hiram Castillo. "Our results have also shown that CeO2 nanoparticles can be taken up by food crops when present in the soil. Cerium has no chemical partner in the plant tissue and is not biotransformed in the soya bean but still reaches the food chain and the next soya bean plant generation." adds Jorge Gardea-Torresdey.

"One must keep in mind that once engineered nanoparticles enter the food chain, this is an accumulative process. Tolerable levels today can become dangerous tomorrow. This is why it is important to study not only whether man-made nanoparticles can be taken up from soil but also how they are biotransformed in the plants." concludes Jorge Gardea-Torresdey.

Arturo A. Keller of the University of California in Santa Barbara and Co-Director of the UC Center for the Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology, who was not involved in this research, comments:

"It's a fascinating paper with some genuine concerns in terms of potential health implications. Whilst we are not able to directly attribute nanoparticle ingestion to any particular disease or symptoms, we know from the latest laboratory studies the potency some have in terms of infiltrating our cells and tissue and causing harm. The fact that these potentially dangerous particles are being taken up by such a common crop suggests a need to review what materials are used in agriculture around the world. In particular, it raises concern over the use of treated waste water to irrigate crops all over the world which may provide a route for these potentially dangerous particles to get into our bodies if the content of the water is not more tightly managed."


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Contact: Claus Habfast
claus.habfast@esrf.fr
33-666-662-384
European Synchrotron Radiation Facility
Source:Eurekalert  

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