Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Interaction of titanium dioxide nanoparticles with PVC-microplastics and chromium counteracts oxidative injuries in Trachyspermum ammi L. by modulating antioxidants and gene expression

Ma, Jing; Hua, Ziyi; Zhu, Yanfeng; Saleem, Muhammad Hamzah; Zulfiqar, Faisal; Chen, Fu; Abbas, Touqeer; El-Sheikh, Mohamed A.; Yong, Jean Wan Hong; Adil, Muhammad Faheem


The emergence of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) microplastics (MPs) as pollutants in agricultural soils is increasingly alarming, presenting significant toxic threats to soil ecosystems. Ajwain (Trachyspermum ammi L.), a plant of significant medicinal and culinary value, is increasingly subjected to environmental stressors that threaten its growth and productivity. This situation is particularly acute given the well-documented toxicity of chromium (Cr), which has been shown to adversely affect plant biomass and escalate risks to the productivity of such economically and therapeutically important species. The present study was conducted to investigate the individual effects of different levels of PVC− MPs (0, 2, and 4 mg L− 1 ) and Cr (0, 150, and 300 mg kg− 1 ) on various aspects of plant growth. Specifically, we examined growth and biomass, photosynthetic pigments, gas exchange attributes, oxidative stress responses, antioxidant compound activity (both enzymatic and nonenzymatic), gene expression, sugar content, nutritional status, organic acid exudation, and Cr accumulation in different parts of Ajwain (Trachyspermum ammi L.) seedlings, which were also exposed to varying levels of titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles (NPs) (0, 25, and 50 µg mL− 1 ). Results from the present study showed that the increasing levels of Cr and PVC− MPs in soils significantly decreased plant growth and biomass, photosynthetic pigments, gas exchange attributes, sugars, and nutritional contents from the roots and shoots of the plants. Conversely, increasing levels of Cr and PVC− MPs in the soil increased oxidative stress indicators in term of malondialdehyde, hydrogen peroxide, and electrolyte leakage, and also increased organic acid exudation pattern in the roots of T. ammi seedlings. Interestingly, the application of TiO2− NPs counteracted the toxicity of Cr and PVC− MPs in T. ammi seedlings, leading to greater growth and biomass. This protective effect is facilitated by the NPs’ ability to sequester reactive oxygen species, thereby reducing oxidative stress and lowering Cr concentrations in both the roots and shoots of the plants. Our research findings indicated that the application of TiO2− NPs has been shown to enhance the resilience of T. ammi seedlings to Cr and PVC− MPs toxicity, leading to not only improved biomass but also a healthier physiological state of the plants. This was demonstrated by a more balanced exudation of organic acids, which is a critical response mechanism to metal stress.


Microplastics; Heavy metal contamination; Nanotechnology; Reactive oxygen species; Antioxidant defense mechanisms

Published in

Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety
2024, Volume: 274, article number: 116181

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Environmental Sciences

    Publication identifier


    Permanent link to this page (URI)