Plant Cell Reports

, Volume 37, Issue 6, pp 901–912 | Cite as

Carbon nanoparticles influence photomorphogenesis and flowering time in Arabidopsis thaliana

  • Abhishek Kumar
  • Anamika Singh
  • Madhusmita Panigrahy
  • Pratap Kumar Sahoo
  • Kishore C. S. Panigrahi
Original Article


Key message

Inclusion of carbon nanoparticles in growth medium accelerates timing to flower by down-regulating phytochrome B in a CONSTANS-independent but photoperiod-dependent manner in Arabidopsis thaliana.


Despite the recognized importance of nanoparticles in plant development over the last decade, the effect of carbon nanoparticles (CNPs) on plant processes such as photomorphogenesis and flowering time control is poorly understood. We explored the uptake, accumulation and effect of CNPs on seedling development and flowering time control in Arabidopsis thaliana (At). CNPs uptake was demonstrated using Raman spectroscopy and light microscopy that affected At seedling growth and flowering time in a dose-dependent manner. The highest accumulation of CNPs was observed in leaves followed by stem and root tissues. CNPs treatment enhanced seed germination, showed elongated hypocotyl, larger cotyledon area and increased chlorophyll content in At seedlings. CNPs treatment induced early flowering in both long-day and short-day growth conditions indicating a photoperiod-dependent effect. CNPs-treated seedlings showed a drastic reduction in the relative abundance of phytochrome B (PHYB) transcript. Further, we analyzed the transcript abundance of at least one major component involved in various pathways that regulate flowering such as (1) photoperiod, (2) gibberellic acid (GA), (3) vernalization and (4) autonomous. An up-regulation of transcript levels of PHYTOCHROME INTERACTING FACTOR 4 (PIF4), GIGANTEA (GI), REPRESSOR OF GIBBERELLIC ACID 1 (RGA1) and LEAFY (LFY) were observed, however, there were no changes in the transcript levels of CONSTANS (CO), VERNALIZATION 1 (VRN1) and FLOWERING CONTROL LOCUS A (FCA). Despite the up-regulation of RGA1, we conclude that the earlier flowering is most likely GA-independent. Here, we demonstrated that the early flowering in CNPs-treated seedlings was PHYB and photoperiod-dependent.


Carbon Nanoparticles Arabidopsis Phytochrome B CONSTANS Flowering Photoperiod 



Carbon nanoparticles




Phytochrome B






Zeitgeber time


Fresh weight


White light



We thank Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India and NISER for the experimental facility offered at the institute. Special thanks to Dr. Chandan Goswami and Dr. Praful Singru for their suggestions in editing this MS. This work was supported by Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Grant number: BT/PR15236/BRB/10/916/2011.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abhishek Kumar
    • 1
  • Anamika Singh
    • 1
  • Madhusmita Panigrahy
    • 1
  • Pratap Kumar Sahoo
    • 2
  • Kishore C. S. Panigrahi
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesNational Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER) (Homi Bhabha National Institute)JatniIndia
  2. 2.School of Physical ScienceNational Institute of Science Education and Research (Homi Bhabha National Institute)OdishaIndia

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