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Absorption and translocation to the aerial part of magnetic carbon-coated nanoparticles through the root of different crop plants

Zuny Cifuentes1, Laura Custardoy234, Jesús M de la Fuente4, Clara Marquina23, M Ricardo Ibarra34, Diego Rubiales5 and Alejandro Pérez-de-Luque1*

Author Affiliations

1 IFAPA, Centro Alameda del Obispo, Área de Mejora y Biotecnología, Avda. Menédez Pidal s/n, PO Box 3092, Córdoba, 14004 Spain

2 Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Aragón (ICMA), CSIC-Universidad de Zaragoza, Pedro Cerbuna 12, Zaragoza, 50009 Spain

3 Departamento de Física de la Materia Condensada, Universidad de Zaragoza, Pedro Cerbuna 12, Zaragoza, 50009 Spain

4 Instituto de Nanociencia de Aragón, Universidad de Zaragoza, Campus Rio Ebro, Edificio i+d+i, Mariano Esquillor s/n. Zaragoza, 50018 Spain

5 CSIC, Instituto de Agricultura Sostenible, Alameda del Obispo s/n, PO Box 4084, Córdoba, 14080 Spain

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Journal of Nanobiotechnology 2010, 8:26  doi:10.1186/1477-3155-8-26

Published: 8 November 2010


The development of nanodevices for agriculture and plant research will allow several new applications, ranging from treatments with agrochemicals to delivery of nucleic acids for genetic transformation. But a long way for research is still in front of us until such nanodevices could be widely used. Their behaviour inside the plants is not yet well known and the putative toxic effects for both, the plants directly exposed and/or the animals and humans, if the nanodevices reach the food chain, remain uncertain. In this work we show that magnetic carbon-coated nanoparticles forming a biocompatible magnetic fluid (bioferrofluid) can easily penetrate through the root in four different crop plants (pea, sunflower, tomato and wheat). They reach the vascular cylinder, move using the transpiration stream in the xylem vessels and spread through the aerial part of the plants in less than 24 hours. Accumulation of nanoparticles was detected in wheat leaf trichomes, suggesting a way for excretion/detoxification. This kind of studies is of great interest in order to unveil the movement and accumulation of nanoparticles in plant tissues for assessing further applications in the field or laboratory.