Research Article


2012, 5(11): 770–782


Upconversion Nanoparticles Dramatically Promote Plant Growth Without Toxicity

Juanjuan Peng1, Yun Sun1, Qian Liu1, Yang Yang1, Jing Zhou1, Wei Feng1 (), Xianzhong Zhang2, and Fuyou Li1 ()

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1 State Key Laboratory of Molecular Engineering of Polymers, & Institutes of Biomedical Sciences, Fudan University, 220 Handan Road, Shanghai 200433, China
2 Key Laboratory of Radiopharmaceuticals, Ministry of Education, & College of Chemistry, Beijing Normal University, 19 Xinjiekou Outer Street, Beijing 100875, China

Keywords: KEYWORDS Upconversion nanophosphors, mung beans, distribution, toxicity, metabolism
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ABSTRACT Upconversion nanophosphors (UCNPs) have been widely used in bioscience and bioimaging, but the effect of UCNPs on plants and on animals after subsequent oral ingestion of the plants has not been studied previously. Herein, we investigate the effects of UCNPs on plant development using mung beans as a model. Incubation at a high UCNP concentration of 100 μg/mL led to growth inhibition, while a low concentration of 10 μg/mL promoted their development. Confocal imaging showed that UCNPs accumulated in the seeds and were transferred from seeds and roots to stems and leaves through the vascular system. Quantitative study by radioanalysis showed the distribution of UCNPs in the plant on the 5th day after incubation decreased in the order (root > seed > leaf > stem). After UCNP-treated bean sprouts were orally ingested by mice, UCNPs were completely excreted with feces, without absorption of residual amounts. Histology and hematology results showed no detectable toxic effects of UCNP-treated mung beans on exposed mice.
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Upconversion Nanoparticles Dramatically Promote Plant Growth Without Toxicity. Nano Res. 2012, 5(11): 770–782

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