Size Fractionation of Titania Nanoparticles in Wild Dittrichia viscosa Grown in a Native Environment

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Belhaj Abdallah, B., Andreu, I., Chatti, A., Landoulsi, A., & Gates, B. D. (2020). Size Fractionation of Titania Nanoparticles in Wild Dittrichia viscosa Grown in a Native Environment. Environmental Science & Technology.

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DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.9b07267
TiO2 nanoparticles
Natural environment
Size distribution
Plant behavior

We report a size fractionation of titania (TiO2) nanoparticles absorbed from the environment and found within wild Dittrichia viscosa plants. The nanoparticles were isolated by extraction and isolation from distinct plant organs, as well as from the corresponding rhizosphere of wild, adult plants. The collected nanoparticles were characterized by scanning transmission electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (STEM-EDS). More than 1,200 TiO2 nanoparticles were analyzed by these techniques. The results indicated the presence of TiO2 nanoparticles with a wide range of sizes within the inspected plant organs and rhizospheres. Interestingly, a size selective process occurs during the internalization and translocation of these nanoparticles (e.g., foliar and root uptake), which favors the accumulation of mainly TiO2 nanoparticles with diameters <50 nm in the leaves, stems, and roots. In fact, our findings indicate that among the total number of TiO2 nanoparticles analyzed, the fraction of the particles with dimensions <50 nm were 52 of those within the rhizospheres, 88.5% of those within the roots, 90% of those within the stems, and 53% of those within the leaves. This significant difference observed in the size distribution of the TiO2 nanoparticles among the rhizosphere and the plant organs could have impacts on the food chain, and further biologicals effects that are dependent on the size of the TiO2.


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