Nanoparticle Properties Influence Transport and Distribution in Plants


Plant nanobiotechnology promises transformative solutions to the most vexing problems threatening global food security, including drought, disease, and soil nutrient deficiencies. However, the lack of cost-effective methods for delivering nanomaterials to the precise locations where they become active, such as inside vascular tissues or organelles, impedes these technological innovations.

Scientists used X-ray fluorescence microscopy and X-ray absorption spectroscopy to evaluate the influence of nanoparticle surface charge and differences in root structure and vasculature on cerium distribution within plants. They found that both nanoparticle surface chemistry and plant morphology significantly impacted the uptake and distribution of cerium nanoparticles.

The findings not only provide insight into how plant structural features influence nanoparticle behavior but also how surface charge can be tailored for targeted delivery of nutrients to specific plant organs.


E. Spielman-Sun, A. Avellan, G.D. Bland, R.V. Tappero, A.S. Acerbo, J.M. Unrine, J.P. Giraldo, G.V. Lowry. “Nanoparticle surface charge influences translocation and leaf distribution in vascular plants with contrasting anatomy.” Environmental Science: Nano, 6, 2508-19 (2019). [DOI: 10.1039/C9EN00626E]