Detection of Nanoparticles in Edible Plant Tissues Exposed to Nano Copper Using Single Particle ICP-MS

Academic Research Topics in Environmental Measurement and Monitoring
Oral Presentation

Prepared by Y. Huang1, A. Keller2, J. Nelson3
1 - University of California, Santa Barbara, 2045 Bren Hall, University of California, Santa Barbara, SANTA BARBARA, CA, 93106, United States
2 - University of California, Santa Barbara, Bren School, UCSB, Bren Hall 3420, Santa Barbara, California, 93106-5131, United States
3 - Agilent Technologies Inc, , , United States

Contact Information: [email protected]; 805-893-5352


The increasing use of nanopesticides has raised concerns about their effects on crop plants and the impact of human health as well as ecological effects. While increased uptake of metal ions has been observed before, to date very few studies have demonstrated the presence of nanoparticles in edible tissues. Single-particle inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry (sp–ICP–MS) has been suggested as a powerful tool to detect nanoparticles (NPs) in the environmental samples. Here we exposed edible plant tissues from lettuce, kale and collard green to nano-CuO, simulating its use as a nanopesticide. We applied sp-ICP-MS to demonstrate the presence of nanoparticles, both in the water used to rinse nano-CuO exposed crop leaf surfaces, as well as within the leaf tissues. Lettuces retained the highest amounts of nCuO NPs on the leaf surface, followed by collard green and then kale. The surface hydrophilicity and roughness of the leaf surfaces played an important role on retaining nano-CuO. The results indicate that most of the nanoparticles are removed via washing, but that a certain fraction is taken up by the leaves and can result in human exposure.