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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Silicon nanoparticles alleviate cadmium toxicity in rice (Oryza sativa L.) by modulating the nutritional profile and triggering stress-responsive genetic mechanisms

Jalil, Sanaullah; Nazir, Muhammad Mudassir; AL-Huqail, Arwa Abdulkreem; Ali, Baber; Al-Qthanin, Rahmah N.; Asad, Muhammad A. U.; Eweda, Mohamed A.; Zulfiqar, Faisal; Onursal, Nilguen; Masood, Hafiza Ayesha; Yong, Jean Wan Hong; Jin, Xiaoli


This study investigated the physiological and molecular responses of rice genotype '9311' to Cd stress and the mitigating effects of silicon oxide nanoparticles (SiO NPs). Cd exposure severely hindered plant growth, chlorophyll content, photosynthesis, and Cd accumulation. However, SiO NPs supplementation, particularly the SiONP100 treatment, significantly alleviated Cd-induced toxicity, mitigating the adverse effects on plant growth while maintaining chlorophyll content and photosynthetic attributes. The SiONP100 treatment also reduced Cd accumulation, indicating a preference for Si uptake in genotype 9311. Complex interactions among Cd, Si, Mg, Ca, and K were uncovered, with fluctuations in MDA and H2O2 contents. Distinct morphological changes in stomatal aperture and mesophyll cell structures were observed, including changes in starch granules, grana thylakoids, and osmophilic plastoglobuli. Moreover, following SiONP100 supplementation, genotype 9311 increased peroxidase, superoxide dismutase, and catalase activities by 56%, 44%, and 53% in shoots and 62%, 49%, and 65% in roots, respectively, indicating a robust defense mechanism against Cd stress. Notably, OsNramp5, OsHMA3, OsSOD-Cu/Zn, OsCATA, OsCATB, and OsAPX1 showed significant expression after SiO NPs treatment, suggesting potential Cd translocation within rice tissues. Overall, SiO NPs supplementation holds promise for enhancing Cd tolerance in rice plants while maintaining essential physiological functions.


Antioxidants; Cadmium; Genetic mechanism; Rice; Sustainable agriculture; Silicon

Published in

Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety
2023, Volume: 268, article number: 115699

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG6 Clean water and sanitation
    SDG11 Sustainable cities and communities
    SDG2 Zero hunger

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Environmental Sciences
    Agricultural Science

    Publication identifier


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