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Nat Nanotechnol. 2007 May;2(5):295-300. doi: 10.1038/nnano.2007.108. Epub 2007 Apr 29.

Mesoporous silica nanoparticles deliver DNA and chemicals into plants.


Surface-functionalized silica nanoparticles can deliver DNA and drugs into animal cells and tissues. However, their use in plants is limited by the cell wall present in plant cells. Here we show a honeycomb mesoporous silica nanoparticle (MSN) system with 3-nm pores that can transport DNA and chemicals into isolated plant cells and intact leaves. We loaded the MSN with the gene and its chemical inducer and capped the ends with gold nanoparticles to keep the molecules from leaching out. Uncapping the gold nanoparticles released the chemicals and triggered gene expression in the plants under controlled-release conditions. Further developments such as pore enlargement and multifunctionalization of these MSNs may offer new possibilities in target-specific delivery of proteins, nucleotides and chemicals in plant biotechnology.

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