Combined effects of carbon nanotubes and cadmium on the photosynthetic capacity and antioxidant response of wheat seedlings

Abstract

A detailed study of nanomaterials has revealed their broad application prospects. However, the presence of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) in the environment has been increasing and has aroused concerns regarding their toxicity to crops when combined with heavy metals. In the present study, the effects of Cd on the photosynthetic capacity and antioxidant activity of wheat seedlings in the presence of single-walled CNTs (SW) and multi-walled CNTs (MW) were investigated. Our results indicated that SW (5–40 mg L−1) and MW (10–40 mg L−1) significantly increased the oxidative stress response of wheat seedlings to Cd. Compared with Cd alone, CNTs combined with Cd decreased net photosynthetic rate, stomatal conductance, transpiration rate, primary maximum photochemical efficiency of photosystem II, actual quantum yield, photosynthetic electron transport rate, root canal protein, and ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase content. Moreover, combined treatments increased the content of superoxide anion, superoxide dismutase, guaiacol peroxidase, cytochrome, and malondialdehyde in wheat seedlings. Moreover, membrane lipid peroxidation was aggravated, causing serious damage to the wheat membrane system. In addition, the toxicity of the SW treatment and the combined treatment with SW and Cd was higher than that of the MW treatment.

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Data availability

All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in this published article and its supplementary information files.

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Acknowledgments

The authors are grateful for the financial support received from the National Key Research and Development Program of China (No. 2016YFD0800806) and STU scientific research foundation for talents (NTF19026).

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Minling Gao and Yalei Xu performed laboratory experiments. Xipeng Chang interpreted histological data and designed image analysis methods. Minling Gao and Zhengguo Song analyzed the data and prepared the manuscript; Zhengguo Song and Minling Gao conceived the idea of this study. All authors contributed substantially to revisions and approved the final manuscript draft.

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Correspondence to Zhengguo Song.

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Highlights

1. CNTs significantly increase the oxidative stress response of wheat seedlings to Cd.

2. CNTs and Cd treatments contribute to the accumulation of ROS in wheat.

3. The toxicity of SW combined with Cd treatments is higher than that of MW.

Responsible editor: Gangrong Shi

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Cite this article

Gao, M., Xu, Y., Chang, X. et al. Combined effects of carbon nanotubes and cadmium on the photosynthetic capacity and antioxidant response of wheat seedlings. Environ Sci Pollut Res (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-021-13024-3

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Keywords

  • Wheat seedlings
  • Carbon nanotubes
  • Cadmium uptake
  • Oxidative stress