THWRC Awarded Proposal 515TAM0045H

Project Number:       515TAM0045H

Title:                           Elucidating the Impact of Engineered Nanoparticles on the Physiological and

                                     Biochemical Processes Associated with Plant Water Uptake and Water Use

                                     Efficiency

Lead PI:                     Xingmao Ma

Awarded Amount:    $20,000

Abstract

Plant water uptake and water use efficiency (WUE) are two principle determinants of plant growth and crop yield.  The plant physiological and biochemical processes regulating these two processes are subject to a variety of biotic and abiotic environmental disturbances. Over the past decades, global climate change and land and water pollution have imposed huge pressure on plant growth and development. An emerging group of environmental pollutants, or the engineered nanoparticles (ENPs), have displayed dramatic potentials to affect plant development at both the seedling, cellular and molecular levels. However, detailed understanding on how ENPs, with different physicochemical properties, will affect plant water uptake and WUE as well as the associated physiological and biochemical processes, are still lacking. The primary goal of this project is to fill this knowledge gap through detailed lab-scale greenhouse studies. The primary goal will be achieved through three specific objectives: (1) determine the impact of different types of ENPs on plant WUE through natural carbon isotope abundance analysis; (2) evaluate the impact of ENPs on plant stomatal movement and the activity of Rubisco and (3) assess the effect of ENPs on plant root hydraulic conductance and the activity of water transport proteins. The project is expected to generate significant information regarding the effects of ENPs on plant water uptake and transport and provide new insights on the connections between the properties of ENPs and their physiological/biochemical effects on plants.  The project will also shed light on the effectiveness of applying isotopic analysis in the risk assessment of ENPs. The project is expected to complete in two years and the total budget for this project is approximately $ 44,000, consistent with the budget guideline of the program.