New research reveals the response mechanism of chamfern to nanoplastic pollutants

It was revealed that the biosynthesis of terpenes and flavonoids is influenced by nanoplastics at different levels such as transcription, protein and metabolism. (Courtesy of the research group)

Recently, the Journal of Hazardous Materials published a research paper by Wu Jiasheng, a professor at the State Key Laboratory of Subtropical Forest Cultivation of Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University, entitled “Multi-omics Analysis Reveals the Molecular Response of Fragrant Hazel Seedlings to Nanoplastic Pollutants”. The study used multi-omics joint analysis to study the response of chamfera to nanoplastics, revealing that the biosynthesis of terpenes and flavonoids is affected by nanoplastics at different levels such as transcription, protein and metabolism, providing new insights for the response of forest plants to nanoplastics.

As an emerging pollutant, micro-nanoplastics have attracted widespread attention from scholars because of their small particle size and ability to penetrate cell membranes and affect metabolism. Agricultural film residues, runoff and irrigation, and coated fertilizers are important sources of micro and nanoplastics in agricultural soils. With the widespread use of plastic products, terrestrial ecosystems have become a relatively active site for micro-nano plastic enrichment.

At present, the harm research of nanoplastics is mainly concentrated in marine aquatic organisms and freshwater algae, while the impact of nanoplastics on higher terrestrial plants, especially on forest plants, is relatively limited.

Fragrant fruit is a rare specialty dried fruit in China, fragrant species is high in unsaturated fatty acids, especially golden pine acid, in addition to squalene, β-sitosterol, vitamin E, flavonoids and other health effect substances. The cultivation of fragrant tree has good benefits and is an important economic tree species for farmers in mountainous areas to increase their income.

Wu Jiasheng’s team used multi-omics joint analysis to study the reaction of chamfera to nanoplastics, revealing the physiological, biochemical and molecular-level reactions of polystyrene nanoplastics with a diameter of 100 nm to vanilla seedlings.

The study found that nanoplastics promote the accumulation of thiobarbituric acid reaction substances, etc., and induced antioxidant enzyme activity such as catalase and peroxidase. Nanoplastics affect the photosynthesis of incense, reduce the in vivo content of iron, sulfur, zinc and other elements, and a large number of differential metabolites are identified by non-targeted metabolomics.

The treatment of nanoplastics has important effects on a range of chemical and genetic factors of chamfern, including antioxidants, small RNA, gene transcription, protein expression and accumulation of metabolites. Multi-omics combined analysis showed that nanoplastics influenced vanille terpenes and flavonoid biosynthesis pathways at small RNA, transcriptional, protein, and metabolic levels.

The research has been funded by the Zhejiang Provincial New Varieties of Fragrant Trees Special Project, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, and the Development Fund of Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University (Talent Startup Project). (Source: China Science Daily, Cui Xueqin, Chen Shengwei)

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