Carbon nanotubes affect early growth, flowering time and phytohormones in tomato

Juliette T. Jordan, R. P. Oates, Seenivasan Subbiah, Paxton R. Payton, Kamaleshwar P. Singh, Smit A. Shah, Micah J. Green, David M. Klein, Jaclyn E. Cañas-Carrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Carbon nanotube (CNT) applications are increasing in consumer products, including agriculture devices, making them an important contaminant to study in the field of plant nanotoxicology. Several studies have observed the uptake and effects of CNTs in plants. However, in other studies differing results were observed on growth and physiology depending on the plant species and type of CNT. This study focused on the effects of CNTs on plant phenotype with growth, time to flowering, fruiting time as endpoints, and physiology, through amino acid and phytohormone content, in tomato after exposure to multiple types of CNTs. Plants grown in CNT-contaminated soil exhibited a delay in early growth and flowering (especially in treatments of 1 mg/kg multi-walled nanotubes (MWNTs), 10 mg/kg MWNTs, and 1 mg/kg MWNTs-COOH). However, CNTs did not affect plant growth or height later in the life cycle. No significant differences in abscisic acid (ABA) and citrulline content were observed between the treated and control plants. However, single-walled nanotube (SWNT) exposure significantly increased salicylic acid (SA) content in tomato. These results suggest that SWNTs may elicit a stress response in tomatoes. Results from this study offer more insight into how plants respond and acclimate to CNTs. These results will lead to a better understanding of CNT impact on plant phenotype and physiology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number127042
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Carbon nanotubes
  • Crop production
  • Nanotoxicology
  • Phytohormones
  • Phytotoxicity


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