PloS one

Cadmium telluride quantum dots (CdTe-QDs) and enhanced ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation trigger antioxidant enzyme metabolism and programmed cell death in wheat seedlings.

PMID 25329900


Nanoparticles (NPs) are becoming increasingly widespread in the environment. Free cadmium ions released from commonly used NPs under ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation are potentially toxic to living organisms. With increasing levels of UV-B radiation at the Earth's surface due to the depletion of the ozone layer, the potential additive effect of NPs and UV-B radiation on plants is of concern. In this study, we investigated the synergistic effect of CdTe quantum dots (CdTe-QDs), a common form of NP, and UV-B radiation on wheat seedlings. Graded doses of CdTe-QDs and UV-B radiation were tested, either alone or in combination, based on physical characteristics of 5-day-old seedlings. Treatments of wheat seedlings with either CdTe-QDs (200 mg/L) or UV-B radiation (10 KJ/m(2)/d) induced the activation of wheat antioxidant enzymes. CdTe-QDs accumulation in plant root cells resulted in programmed cell death as detected by DNA laddering. CdTe-QDs and UV-B radiation inhibited root and shoot growth, respectively. Additive inhibitory effects were observed in the combined treatment group. This research described the effects of UV-B and CdTe-QDs on plant growth. Furthermore, the finding that CdTe-QDs accumulate during the life cycle of plants highlights the need for sustained assessments of these interactions.