The prestigious academic journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Science” (PNAS) has published an article by UALR scientists Mariya Khodakovskaya and Alex Biris, UAMS professor Dr. Vladimir Zharov; and their respective teams, detailing a novel progress for studying the interaction of plants and nanoparticles.
Understanding the nature of interactions between engineered nanomaterials and plants is crucial in comprehending the impact of nanotechnology on the environment and agriculture with a focus on toxicity concerns, plant disease treatment, and genetic engineering.
To date, little progress has been made in studying nanoparticle-plant interactions at single nanoparticle and genetic levels.
The new article describes an advanced platform integrating genetic, Raman, photothermal, and photoacoustic spectroscopy methods to study how nanoparticles interact with plants at the genetic level.
Nanotechnology is one of the most innovative scientific fields that involves the development and manufacturing of structures at the nanoscale. The science is expected to have a huge economic and scientific potential. It uses materials on a molecular and atomic level. One nanometer is equal to one thousandth of a micrometer, or one millionth of a millimeter.
The new article describes an advanced platform integrating genetic, Raman photothermal, and photoacoustic spectroscopy methods to study how nanoparticles interact with plants at the genetic level.
The research presents productive interdisciplinary research that involves groups from different scientific areas. The UALR Nanotechnology Center, directed by Biris, synthesized the materials of the study. The impact of these nanomaterials on plant growth and genetics was investigated in Khodakovskaya’s laboratory.
The ultra-sensitive detection of carbon nanomaterials in plant organs using photothermal and photoacoustic methods was implemented by Zharov’s research group at UAMS.
The complex approach allowed the scientists to demonstrate that carbon nanotubes are able to travel inside plants exposed to carbon nanotubes, affect plant development, and express a number of essential genes including genes involved in major plant stress responses.
Khodakovskaya’s work at UALR has involved developing a tomato plant healthy enough to grow in space and surviving down-to-earth droughts and disease. More than providing fresh produce for astronauts on extended missions to Mars, the research has
important implications for developing crops resistant to drought and other stresses while improving the nutritional value of crops.
Khodakovskaya’s laboratory also is fully involved in studying the complex changes that happen at the genetic level of plant systems and the finding of novel transcriptional factors responsible for plant development.
Biris aims to accelerate the development of commercial applications of nanotechnology through collaborations with private corporations, universities in the state and nation, and research institutes in the United States and abroad.
His research includes developing nanostructures to facilitate the growth of bone and other tissue, development of skin-like film to collect energy from the sun, and nanostructures to carry elements to kill cancer cells directly into those cells.
Source: UALR News