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ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2014 Jun 25;6(12):9100-10. doi: 10.1021/am501029g. Epub 2014 Jun 5.

Quantum dot and superparamagnetic nanoparticle interaction with pathogenic fungi: internalization and toxicity profile.

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  • 1Instituto de Agricultura Sostenible, CSIC , Alameda del Obispo s/n, Córdoba, Spain.


For several years now, nanoscaled materials have been implemented in biotechnological applications related to animal (in particular human) cells and related pathologies. However, the use of nanomaterials in plant biology is far less widespread, although their application in this field could lead to the future development of plant biotechnology applications. For any practical use, it is crucial to elucidate the relationship between the nanomaterials and the target cells. In this work we have evaluated the behavior of two types of nanomaterials, quantum dots and superparamagnetic nanoparticles, on Fusarium oxysporum, a fungal species that infects an enormous range of crops causing important economic losses and is also an opportunistic human pathogen. Our results indicated that both nanomaterials rapidly interacted with the fungal hypha labeling the presence of the pathogenic fungus, although they showed differential behavior with respect to internalization. Thus, whereas magnetic nanoparticles appeared to be on the cell surface, quantum dots were significantly taken up by the fungal hyphae showing their potential for the development of novel control approaches of F. oxysporum and related pathogenic fungi following appropriate functionalization. In addition, the fungal germination and growth, accumulation of ROS, indicative of cell stress, and fungal viability have been evaluated at different nanomaterial concentrations showing the low toxicity of both types of nanomaterials to the fungus. This work represents the first study on the behavior of quantum dots and superparamagnetic particles on fungal cells, and constitutes the first and essential step to address the feasibility of new nanotechnology-based systems for early detection and eventual control of pathogenic fungi.

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