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Open Access Publications from the University of California

(1)H NMR and GC-MS Based Metabolomics Reveal Defense and Detoxification Mechanism of Cucumber Plant under Nano-Cu Stress.

  • Author(s): Zhao, Lijuan
  • Huang, Yuxiong
  • Hu, Jerry
  • Zhou, Hongjun
  • Adeleye, Adeyemi S
  • Keller, Arturo A
  • et al.

Because copper nanoparticles are being increasingly used in agriculture as pesticides, it is important to assess their potential implications for agriculture. Concerns have been raised about the bioaccumulation of nano-Cu and their toxicity to crop plants. Here, the response of cucumber plants in hydroponic culture at early development stages to two concentrations of nano-Cu (10 and 20 mg/L) was evaluated by proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy ((1)H NMR) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) based metabolomics. Changes in mineral nutrient metabolism induced by nano-Cu were determined by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Results showed that nano-Cu at both concentrations interferes with the uptake of a number of micro- and macro-nutrients, such as Na, P, S, Mo, Zn, and Fe. Metabolomics data revealed that nano-Cu at both levels triggered significant metabolic changes in cucumber leaves and root exudates. The root exudate metabolic changes revealed an active defense mechanism against nano-Cu stress: up-regulation of amino acids to sequester/exclude Cu/nano-Cu; down-regulation of citric acid to reduce the mobilization of Cu ions; ascorbic acid up-regulation to combat reactive oxygen species; and up-regulation of phenolic compounds to improve antioxidant system. Thus, we demonstrate that nontargeted (1)H NMR and GC-MS based metabolomics can successfully identify physiological responses induced by nanoparticles. Root exudates metabolomics revealed important detoxification mechanisms.

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