January 27 2016

12:00 LSB 2320

Juan Pablo Giraldo
Department of Botany and Plant Sciences, University of California, Riverside

A nanobiotechnology approach to study and engineer plant photosynthesis and chemical sensing


Plant nanobiotechnology is a nascent field that interfaces plants with nanomaterials for studying and engineering plant function. This approach demonstrated that the spontaneous penetration of carbon nanotubes (CNT) within chloroplasts results in enhanced light energy conversion into electron flow. Cerium oxide nanoparticles (nanoceria) were also shown to act as potent scavengers of damaging reactive oxygen species (ROS) at the sites of generation in chloroplasts. The mechanisms of enhancement of the light reactions of photosynthesis by nanoparticles are not well understood, but the evidence is consistent with CNT expansion of the chloroplast solar energy harnessing spectrum. Whether nanoparticle enhancement of electron flow or scavenging of ROS in leaves leads to higher plant carbon uptake is an active area of research. CNT also enable near-infrared fluorescence monitoring of chemicals in plants, demonstrating the potential of nanoparticles as plant biomolecule sensors and that plants can be augmented to function as photonic chemical sensors. Ratiometric CNT sensors can be independently functionalized to recognize either a chemical or no analyte (remaining invariant), thus creating an optical sensor that detects the analyte presence in biological tissues, invariant to the absolute intensity emitted from the sensors. Interfacing plants with CNT ratiometric sensors transforms plants into detectors of contaminants in the environment with infrared communication platforms that can send information to electronic devices. Together these results demonstrate the potential of plant nanobiotechnology to create novel tools for plant biology research and provide plants with novel and augmented functions.

Juan Pablo Giraldo Lab Website











































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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