Journal of Nanoparticle Research

, Volume 12, Issue 8, pp 3087–3095 | Cite as

Biogenic Pt uptake and nanoparticle formation in Medicago sativa and Brassica juncea

  • Roza Bali
  • Rainer Siegele
  • Andrew T. Harris
Research Paper


The ability of the facultative metallophyte plants, Medicago sativa (M. sativa) and Brassica juncea (B. juncea) to accumulate and translocate platinum (Pt) from aqueous substrates is reported. The influence of Pt concentration in the substrate (5, 10, 20, 40 and 80 ppm), exposure time (24, 48 and 72 h) and substrate pH (2, 3, 5, 7 and 9) was determined. In both plants the concentration of Pt increased with substrate concentration and exposure time. Greater accumulation was detected in the roots of M. sativa than B. juncea, up to a maximum of 94.19 mg Pt g−1 (dry biomass) compared with 38.5 mg Pt g−1 (dry biomass) following exposure to 80 ppm Pt after 72 h exposure, respectively. However, at lower substrate concentrations (5 and 20 ppm) greater quantities of Pt were detected in the shoots of B. juncea, ranging between 0.02 and 0.32 mg Pt g−1 (dry biomass) at 5 ppm across the different time intervals studied, compared with 0.02−0.14 mg Pt g−1 (dry biomass) for M. sativa, suggesting B. juncea to be a better translocator of Pt under idealised conditions at low concentrations. Higher Pt uptake was also observed in acidic media, with a maximum at pH 2 for M. sativa and pH 3 for B. juncea, indicating the role of net surface charge on the bioaccumulation of Pt. Once sequestered Pt(II) was reduced to Pt(0) due to the action of local metabolites. TEM images of M. sativa root samples showed the in vivo formation of Pt nanoparticles between 3 and 100 nm in size and of varying morphologies in the epidermal root cells. In vivo Pt distribution profiles were assessed using proton induced X-ray emission (μ-PIXE) spectroscopy, which showed even distribution across all tissue systems (epidermal, cortical and vascular) within the roots of both M. sativa and B. juncea.


Medicago sativa Brassica juncea Platinum (Pt) Nanoparticle Translocation Vegetation Nanobiotechnology 



RB is grateful for the support of the Richard Claude Mankin Scholarship fund at the University of Sydney. The authors are grateful for the assistance of Jeffrey Shi with ICP-OES analysis and Shaun Bulcock with STEM analysis. This work was funded, in part, by the Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering.

Supplementary material

11051_2010_9904_MOESM1_ESM.doc (266 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 266 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory for Sustainable Technology, School of Chemical and Biomolecular EngineeringThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Institute for Environmental ResearchAustralian Nuclear Science and Technology OrganizationLucas HeightsAustralia

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