Phytotoxicity and biotransformation of La 2O 3 nanoparticles in a terrestrial plant cucumber (Cucumis sativus)

Yuhui Ma, Xiao He, Peng Zhang, Zhiyong Zhang, Zhi Guo, Renzhong Tai, Zijian Xu, Lijuan Zhang, Yayun Ding, Yuliang Zhao, Zhifang Chai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

155 Scopus citations


With the increasing applications of metal-based nanoparticles in various commercial products, it is necessary to address their environmental fate and potential toxicity. In this work, we assessed the phytotoxicity of lanthanum oxide (La 2O 3) NPs to cucumber plants and determined its distribution and biotransformation in roots by TEM and EDS, as well as STXM and NEXAFS. LaCl 3 was also studied as a reference toxicant. La 2O 3 NPs and LaCl 3 were both transformed to needle-like LaPO 4 nanoclusters in the intercellular regions of the cucumber roots. In vitro experiments demonstrated that the dissolution of La 2O 3 NPs was significantly enhanced by acetic acid. Accordingly, we proposed that the dissolution of NPs at the root surface induced by the organic acids extruded from root cells played an important role in the phytotoxicity of La 2O 3 NPs. The reactions of active NPs at the nano-bio interface should be taken into account when studying the toxicity of dissolvable metal-based nanoparticles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)743-753
Number of pages11
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • Biotransformation
  • Dissolution
  • La O nanoparticles
  • Phytotoxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Toxicology


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