Phytotoxicity, Translocation, and Biotransformation of NaYF4 Upconversion Nanoparticles in a Soybean Plant

Wenyan Yin, Liangjun Zhou, Yuhui Ma, Gan Tian, Jiating Zhao, Liang Yan, Xiaopeng Zheng, Peng Zhang, Jie Yu, Zhanjun Gu, Yuliang Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


The increasing uses of rare-earth-doped upconversion nanoparticles (UCNPs) have obviously caused many concerns about their potential toxicology on live organisms. In addition, the UCNPs can be released into the environment, then transported into edible crop plants, and finally entered into food chain. Here, the soybean is chosen as a model plant to study the subchronic phytotoxicity, translocation, and biotransformation of NaYF4 UCNPs. The incubation with UCNPs at a relative low concentration of 10 μg mL-1 leads to growth promotion for the roots and stems, while concentration exceeding 50 μg mL-1 brings concentration-dependent inhibition. Upconversion luminescence imaging and scanning electron microscope characterization show that the UCNPs can be absorbed by roots and parts of the adsorbed UCNPs are then transported through vessels to stems and leaves. The near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure spectra reveal that the adsorbed NaYF4 nanoparticles are relatively stable during a 10 d incubation. Energy-dispersive X-ray spectrum further indicates that a small amount of NaYF4 is dissolved/digested and can transform into Y-phosphate clusters in roots.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4774-4784
Number of pages11
Issue number36
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015


  • biotransformation
  • phytotoxicity
  • plants
  • translocation
  • upconversion
  • upconverting nanoparticles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)


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