Physiological effects of cerium oxide nanoparticles on the photosynthesis and water use efficiency of soybean ( Glycine max (L.) Merr.) Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2017 The Royal Society of Chemistry. Widespread industrial uses of cerium oxide nanoparticles (CeO 2 NPs) and their unregulated disposal have raised concerns about their environmental consequences. While studies are abundant on the phyto-effects of CeO 2 NPs, detailed understanding of the impact of CeO 2 NPs on plant photosynthesis is still lacking. In addition, no studies have evaluated the effects of CeO 2 NPs on plant water use efficiency (WUE), a key parameter for crop yield. The goal of this study was to determine the impact of CeO 2 NPs with two different surface properties (uncoated and polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP)-coated) on the photosynthesis and WUE of soybean at four different concentrations (0, 10, 100 and 500 mg kg -1 dry soil). At the concentration of 100 mg kg -1 , both types of CeO 2 NPs stimulated plant growth and enhanced the photosynthesis rate by 54% for bare CeO 2 NPs and 36% for PVP-CeO 2 NPs. The maximum rate of Rubisco carboxylase activity represented by V cmax also increased by 32% and 27%, respectively, for bare and PVP-coated CeO 2 NPs at this concentration during the 3 week treatment. Conversely, the net photosynthesis rate was reduced by about 36% for both nanoparticles at 500 mg kg -1 CeO 2 NPs. In addition, CeO 2 NPs at concentrations >500 mg kg -1 also inhibited Rubisco activity and interfered with CO 2 diffusion pathways. The results also confirmed that the physiological effects of CeO 2 NPs on soybean depend on both the concentration and surface coating properties of the nanoparticles.

author list (cited authors)

  • Cao, Z., Stowers, C., Rossi, L., Zhang, W., Lombardini, L., & Ma, X.

citation count

  • 48

publication date

  • January 2017