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Open AccessArticle

Effects of Few-Layer Graphene on the Sexual Reproduction of Seed Plants: An In Vivo Study with Cucurbita pepo L.

1
Department of Life Sciences, University of Trieste, via L. Giorgieri 10, I-34127 Trieste, Italy
2
Department of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Science, University of Trieste, via L. Giorgieri 1, I-34127 Trieste, Italy
3
Department of Life Sciences, University of Siena, via P. A. Mattioli 4, I-53100 Siena, Italy
4
Department of Organic Chemistry, Faculty of Chemical Science and Technology, University of Castilla-La Mancha, Av. Camilo José Cela, s/n, E-13005 Ciudad Real, Spain
5
Instituto Regional de Investigación Científica Aplicada (IRICA), Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, E-13071 Ciudad Real, Spain
6
Center for Cooperative Research in Biomaterials (CIC biomaGUNE), Basque Research and Technology Alliance (BRTA), Paseo de Miramón 182, 20014 Donostia San Sebastián, Spain
7
Basque Foundation for Science, Ikerbasque, 48013 Bilbao, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nanomaterials 2020, 10(9), 1877; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10091877
Received: 3 July 2020 / Revised: 28 August 2020 / Accepted: 15 September 2020 / Published: 19 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanotechnology in Agriculture and Food Industry)
Products containing graphene-related materials (GRMs) are becoming quite common, raising concerns for environmental safety. GRMs have varying effects on plants, but their impact on the sexual reproduction process is largely unknown. In this study, the effects of few-layer graphene (FLG) and a similarly layered phyllosilicate, muscovite mica (MICA), were tested in vivo on the reproductive structures, i.e., pollen and stigma, of Cucurbita pepo L. ssp. pepogreyzini’ (summer squash, zucchini). Pollen was exposed to FLG or MICA, after careful physical-chemical characterization, at concentrations of 0.5 and 2 mg of nanomaterial (NM) per g of pollen for up to six hours. Following this, pollen viability was tested. Stigmas were exposed to FLG or MICA for three hours and then analyzed by environmental scanning electron microscopy to verify possible alterations to their surface. Stigmas were then hand-pollinated to verify the effects of the two NMs on pollen adhesion and in vivo pollen germination. FLG and MICA altered neither pollen viability nor the stigmatic surface. However, both NMs equivalently decreased pollen adhesion and in vivo germination compared with untreated stigmas. These effects deserve further attention as they could impact on production of fruits and seeds. Importantly, it was shown that FLG is as safe as a naturally occurring nanomaterial. View Full-Text
Keywords: stigmatic surface; pollen germination; nanomaterials; flowers; particulate matter stigmatic surface; pollen germination; nanomaterials; flowers; particulate matter
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MDPI and ACS Style

Zanelli, D.; Candotto Carniel, F.; Garrido, M.; Fortuna, L.; Nepi, M.; Cai, G.; Del Casino, C.; Vázquez, E.; Prato, M.; Tretiach, M. Effects of Few-Layer Graphene on the Sexual Reproduction of Seed Plants: An In Vivo Study with Cucurbita pepo L.. Nanomaterials 2020, 10, 1877.

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