Major in Biology

Effects of Engineered Nanoparticles on Native Woody Plants.

Andrea Volo, Stephanie Benzing, Sai Han Myo Tun,
Sara Scanga, and Alyssa Thomas, .

Engineered nanoparticles are used in a variety of commercial products, and are subsequently distributed through waste streams into both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Despite the increasing prevalence of engineered nanoparticles in the environment, their effects on ecosystem functioning are just beginning to be examined. Most previous research on the effects of these nanoparticles has focused on agricultural crops and
on herbaceous, rather than woody, plant species. Our objective is to examine the effects of engineered nanoparticles on trees and shrubs native to northern hardwood forests. We are exposing eight woody species to manufactured gold nanoparticles. We will examine whether and how quickly the gold nanoparticles are assimilated into the tissues of the plants, looking for differences in uptake among the species. We will also examine the effect of nanoparticles on plant growth by comparing exposed plants to unexposed controls. Our
results will provide baseline information needed to begin crafting evidence-based policy and management responses to the increasing spread of engineered nanoparticles in the environment.


Dr. Daniel Kurtz
Chair of Biology

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