Key Laboratory for Biomedical Effects of Nanomaterials and Nanosafety, Institute of High Energy Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100049, China; School of Nuclear Science and Technology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100049, China. Electronic address: [Email]
In this study, comparative effects of foliar application of ceria nanoparticles (NPs) and Ce3+ ions on common bean plants were investigated. Soil grown bean seedlings were exposed to ceria NPs and Ce3+ ions at 0, 40, 80, and 160 mg Ce·L-1 every other day at the vegetative growth stage for 17 d. The plants were harvested 47 d after the last treatment. Performed analyses involved growth, physiological and biochemical parameters of the plants and nutritional quality of the pods. Ceria NPs at 40 mg Ce·L-1 increased dry weight of the plants by 51.8% over the control. Neither ceria NPs nor Ce3+ ions significantly affected other vegetative growth parameters. Pod yields and nutrient contents except for several mineral elements were also not significantly different among groups. Compared to control, pods from ceria NPs at 80 mg Ce·L-1 had significantly less S and Mn. At 40 and 80 mg Ce·L-1, ceria NPs reduced pod Mo by 27% and 21%, while Ce3+ ions elevated Mo contents by 20% and 18%, respectively, compared with control. Ce3+ ions at 80 and 160 mg Ce·L-1 significantly increased pod Zn by 25% and 120%, respectively, compared with control. At the end of the experiment, Ce3+ ions at 40, 80, and 160 mg Ce·L-1 increased contents of malondialdehyde (MDA) by 46%, 65%, and 82% respectively as compared with control. While ceria NPs led to a significant increase of MDA level only at the highest concentration. X-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES) analysis of the leaf samples revealed that both ceria NPs and Ce3+ ions kept their original chemical species after foliar applications, suggesting the observed effects of ceria NPs and Ce3+ ions on the plants were probably due to their nano-specific properties and ionic properties respectively.