Skip to Main Content
The increased manufacturing of nanoparticles for use in cosmetics, foods, and clothing necessitates the need for an effective system to monitor and evaluate the potential environmental impact of these nanoparticles. The goal of this research was to develop a plant-based sensor network for characterizing, monitoring, and understanding the environmental impact of TiO2 nanoparticles. The network consisted of potted Arabidopsis thaliana with a surrounding water supply, which was monitored by cameras attached to a laptop computer running a machine learning algorithm. Using the proposed plant sensor network, we were able to examine the toxicity of TiO2 nanoparticles in two systems: algae and terrestrial plants. Increased terrestrial plant growth was observed upon introduction of the nanoparticles, whereas algal growth decreased significantly. The proposed system can be further automated for high-throughput screening of nanoparticle toxicity in the environment at multiple trophic levels. The proposed plant-based sensor network could be used for more accurate characterization of the environmental impact of nanomaterials.
Date of Publication: March 2013