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Differentially charged nanoplastics demonstrate distinct accumulation in Arabidopsis thaliana
Although the fates of microplastics (0.1–5 mm in size) and nanoplastics (100 nm) in marine environments are being increasingly well studied 1 2, little is known about the behaviour of nanoplastics in terrestrial environments, especially agricultural soils 7. Previous studies have evaluated the con- sequences of nanoplastic accumulation in aquatic plants, but there is no direct evidence for the internalization of nanoplastics in terrestrial plants. Here, we show that both positively and negatively charged nanoplastics can accumu- late in Arabidopsis thaliana. The aggregation promoted by the growth medium and root exudates limited the uptake of amino-modified polystyrene nanoplastics with positive sur- face charges. Thus, positively charged nanoplastics accumulated at relatively low levels in the root tips, but these nanoplastics induced a higher accumulation of reactive oxygen species and inhibited plant growth and seedling development more strongly than negatively charged sulfonic-acid-modified nanoplastics. By contrast, the negatively charged nanoplas- tics were observed frequently in the apoplast and xylem. Our findings provide direct evidence that nanoplastics can accu- mulate in plants, depending on their surface charge. Plant accumulation of nanoplastics can have both direct ecological effects and implications for agricultural sustainability and food safety.
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