By Cameron Chai
There is a large gap in knowledge about the impact of nanomaterials on edible plants, according to the latest episode of ‘Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions’, an award-winning podcast series of the American Chemical Society.
Jorge Gardea-Torresdey, who serves at the University of Texas at El Paso and a co- investigator for the NSF/EPA University of California Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology, has noted in the podcast that nanomaterials are utilized in products ranging from cosmetics to medicines.
Nanoparticles used as growth enhancers, fertilizers and other nanoagricultural products can end up in the soil. Certain plants can uptake and amass nanoparticles. However, it is still not clear if this is a problem for these plants or for the animals that consume them.
A review article published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry of the American Chemical Society is the basis of the podcast. According to the article, the researchers studied about 100 scientific articles on the impact of various types of nanomaterials on edible plants. What they observed was the consumption and accumulation of nanoparticles varies with its size and chemical composition as well as the type of the plant.
Gardea-Torresdey stated that this literary review has proved that knowledge of the toxicity of nanomaterials on plants is at the basic stage. The up-and-coming field of nanoecotoxicology is starting to deal with this matter, and it will be exciting to know what could be discovered in the future.