Crop Biotech Update

Nanoparticles in Food Crops Need to be Studied

June 10, 2011

Little is known about the effects of nanoparticles on corn, tomatoes, rice and other food crops. This observation is forwarded in an article on "Interaction of nanoparticles with edible plants and their possible implications in the food chain" published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Nanotechnology is expected to boost the productivity of plants for food, fuel, and other uses.

Jorge Gardea-Torresdey of the University of Texas at El Paso and colleagues note that nanoparticles, which are 1/50,000th the width of a human hair, are used in products ranging from medicines to cosmetics. They analyzed nearly 100 scientific articles on the effects of different types of nanoparticles on edible plants. "Literature review confirmed that knowledge on plant toxicity of [nanomaterials] is at the foundation stage," the team said. The emerging field of nanotoxicity will address the missing information.

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