Life-cycle Approaches to Understand the Interactions between Crops and Engineered Nanoparticles at Molecular Level


Researchers: Achintya N. Bezbaruah(PI), Dinesh Katti, Kalpana Katti, Marinus Otte, Donna Jacob,Jose Gonzalez(SDSU)

Project sponsors: National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) of USDA (01/2012-01/2016)


The goal of this research project is to understand the molecular level interactions of two specific engineered nanomaterials (zinc oxide and carbon nanotube) with crop plants through in-vivo, in-vitro, genetic, genomic, and molecular modeling experiments, and relate the information to food security. This project will greatly improve the understanding of the mechanisms underlying plant uptake of engineered nanoparticles (ENPs) and their fate and transport within the plants. The main focus of this research will be on spinach (Spinacea oleracea). In addition, uptake and translocation of nanoparticles in rice (Oryza sativa) will also be studied. Understanding the mechanisms of uptake, and fate and transport will help us assess the threats to food security from ENPs and in developing methods to prevent negative impacts of ENPs. Specific objectives of this project are: (1) Study of uptake and translocation of ENPs in two, very different crops: spinach (dryland, dicot) and rice (wetland, monocot); (2) Establishing relationships between macro-level or whole plant behaviors (uptake and translocation) of ENPs with molecular level (genomic) responses; (3) Study of interactions of ENPs and plant cells and correlate the findings with molecular level experimental and modeling data; (4) Characterizing the ENPs at various stages during plant uptake and during internalization by plant cells; (5) Investigating the effects of ENPs at the genomic level in plants; and (6) Development of molecular level models to predict the impacts of ENPs on plants.