Interactions Between Engineered Nanomaterials and Agricultural Crops
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Jason C. White
Jason C. White, Ph.D. is the vice director of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station and Head of the Department of Analytical Chemistry
Abstract: Although nanomaterials (NM) use has increased dramatically, the risks posed to humans and the environment remain somewhat poorly understood. The interaction between nanomaterials and crop species is an area of particular concern; several USDA-funded projects are supporting investigations into NM fate and effects in agricultural systems. Three separate lines of research are being pursued at CAES and representative findings from three areas will be discussed. First, efforts have focused on uncovering the mechanisms of toxicity in crop species exposed to different NM (as well as corresponding ions and bulk materials) under a range of conditions; measured parameters here include both physiological and molecular endpoints. Second, the impact of NM on the fate and effects of co-contaminants on plant and earthworm species is being evaluated. Here the focus has largely been on the impact of carbon NM on the bioaccumulation of weathered persistent organic pollutants, although a new experiment investigating the effect of metal oxide nanoparticles (NP) on the accumulation of neonicotinoid insecticides in cucurbits has been initiated. Last, experiments focusing on the particle size specific nature of NM trophic transfer within terrestrial food chains is being investigated and data from four separate experiments will be discussed. In a separate USDA project that was awarded in January 2016, we will be investigating the use of nanoscale micronutrients to suppress plant pathogens and increase crop yield; select preliminary data from this project will also be presented.