Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study Shows Nanoparticles Could Damage Plant Life

Date:
November 22, 2005
Source:
New Jersey Institute of Technology
Summary:
A nanoparticle commonly used in industry could have a damaging effect on plant life, according to a report by an environmental scientist at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT).

A nanoparticle commonly used in industry could have a damaging effect on plant life, according to a report by an environmental scientist at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT).

The report, published in a recent issue of "Toxicology Letters," shows that nanoparticles of alumina (aluminum oxide) slowed the growth of roots in five species of plants -- corn, cucumber, cabbage, carrot and soybean. Alumina nanoparticles are commonly used in scratch-resistant transparent coatings, sunscreen lotions that provide transparent-UV protection and environmental catalysts that reduce pollution, said Daniel J. Watts, PhD, the lead author of the study.

"Before this study there was an assumption that nanoparticles had no effect on plants," said Watts, executive director of the York Center for Environmental Engineering and Science and Panasonic Chair in Sustainability at NJIT. "This study makes the observation that seedlings can interact with nanoparticles such as alumina, which can have a harmful effect on seedlings and perhaps stunt the growth of plants. "Other nanoparticles included in the study, such as silica, did not show this effect," Watts added. He did the study with Ling Yang, a doctoral student who recently graduated from NJIT.

The authors conducted the study by allowing seeds to germinate on wet filter paper in Petri dishes, after which they added known quantities of nano-sized alumina suspended in water. The control portion of the experiment was treated only with water, and the authors observed the experiment for seven days. During that time, they measured the differences in the growth of the plants' roots, which were shown to be statistically significant.

"We suppose that the surface characteristics of the nanoparticles played an important role in slowing the growth of the roots," said Watts. "The smaller the particle, the larger is the total amount of surface area per unit weight. So the smaller you make the particles, the larger is the surface area, which we suspect is what contributes to the growth-slowing interaction between the seeds and the nanoparticles. The small size of the nanoparticles may be changed by the nanoparticles aggregating or clumping together."

But what is still not understood, said Watts, is the nature of the interaction between the nanoparticle and the root of the seed. "What is the mechanism of the interaction between the particle and the root? That we don't know as yet," he said.

Nanoparticles can be deposited into air by exhaust systems, chimneys or smoke stacks, said Watts. The particles can also mix with rainwater and snow and gradually work their way into soil. It is difficult to take results from a lab experiment and conclude that is what happens in the real world, said Watts. "But we speculate that air deposits of nanoparticles or water transport of them are ways in which nanoparticles could mix with plant life," he said.

###

The York Center for Environmental Engineering and Science at NJIT conducts research programs to achieve an ecologically sustainable future by correcting environmental damage caused by past action, and improving current environmental technology and practice, while providing for the economic and equity needs of people in New Jersey and throughout the world. The York Center has been developed from research and development programs that started in 1984 and involves researchers from most disciplines at the university.

New Jersey Institute of Technology, the state's public technological research university, enrolls more than 8,300 students in bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in 100 degree programs offered by six colleges: Newark College of Engineering, New Jersey School of Architecture, College of Science and Liberal Arts, School of Management, Albert Dorman Honors College and College of Computing Sciences. NJIT is renowned for expertise in architecture, applied mathematics, wireless communications and networking, solar physics, advanced engineered particulate materials, nanotechnology, neural engineering and eLearning.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by New Jersey Institute of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

New Jersey Institute of Technology. "Study Shows Nanoparticles Could Damage Plant Life." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 November 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/11/051122210910.htm>.
New Jersey Institute of Technology. (2005, November 22). Study Shows Nanoparticles Could Damage Plant Life. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/11/051122210910.htm
New Jersey Institute of Technology. "Study Shows Nanoparticles Could Damage Plant Life." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/11/051122210910.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

AP (July 24, 2014) TSA administrator, John Pistole's took part in the Aspen Security Forum 2014, where he answered questions on lifting of the ban on flights into Israel's Tel Aviv airport and whether politics played a role in lifting the ban. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

TheStreet (July 23, 2014) When The Deal's Amanda Levin exclusively reported that Gas Natural had been talking to potential suitors, the Ohio company responded with a flat denial, claiming its board had not talked to anyone about a possible sale. Lo and behold, Canadian utility Algonquin Power and Utilities not only had approached the company, but it did it three times. Its last offer was for $13 per share as Gas Natural's was trading at a 60-day moving average of about $12.50 per share. Now Algonquin, which has a 4.9% stake in Gas Natural, has taken its case to shareholders, calling on them to back its proposals or, possibly, a change in the target's board. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

AP (July 23, 2014) 'Ray' the robotic parking valet at Dusseldorf Airport in Germany lets travelers to avoid the hassle of finding a parking spot before heading to the check-in desk. (July 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins