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Unraveling Metabolic and Proteomic Features in Soybean Plants in Response to Copper Hydroxide Nanowires Compared to a Commercial Fertilizer


Mechanistic understanding of the interaction of copper-based nanomaterials with crops is crucial for exploring their application in precision agriculture and their implications on plant health. We investigated the biological response of soybean (Glycine max) plants to the foliar application of copper hydroxide nanowires (CNWs) at realistic exposure concentrations. A commercial copper based-fungicide (Kocide), dissolved copper ions, and untreated controls were used for comparison to identify unique features at physiological, cellular, and molecular levels. After 32 d of exposure to CNW (0.36, 1.8, and 9 mg CNW/plant), the newly developed tissues accumulated significantly high levels of Cu (18-60 μg/g) compared to Kocide (10 μg/g); however, the rate of Cu translocation from the site of CNW treatment to other tissues was slower compared to other Cu treatments. Like Kocide, CNW exposure at medium and high doses altered Co, Mn, Zn, and Fe accumulation in the tissues and enhanced photosynthetic activities. The proteomic and metabolomic analyses of leaves from CNW-treated soybean plants suggest a dose-dependent response, resulting in the activation of major biological processes, including photosynthesis, energy production, fatty acid metabolism, lignin biosynthesis, and carbohydrate metabolism. In contrast to CNW treatments, Kocide exposure resulted in increased oxidative stress response and amino acid metabolism activation.

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