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Abstract

Allium cepa var. agrogarum L. seedlings grown in nutrient solution were subjected to increasing concentrations of Cd2+ (0, 1, 10, 100 μM). Variation in tolerance to cadmium toxicity was studied based on chromosome aberrations, nucleoli structure and reconstruction of root tip cells, Cd accumulation and mineral metabolism, lipid peroxidation, and changes in the antioxidative defense system (SOD, CAT, POD) in leaves and roots of the seedlings. Cd induced chromosome aberrations including C-mitoses, chromosome bridges, chromosome fragments and chromosome stickiness. Cd induced the production of some particles of argyrophilic proteins scattered in the nuclei and even extruded from the nucleoli into the cytoplasm after a high Cd concentration or prolonged Cd stress, and nucleolar reconstruction was inhibited. In Cd2+-treated Allium cepa var. agrogarum plants the metal was largely restricted to the roots; very little of it was transported to aerial parts. Adding Cd2+ to the nutrient solution affected mineral metabolism. For example, at 100 μM Cd it reduced the levels of Mn, Cu and Zn in roots, bulbs and leaves. Malondialdehyde content in roots and leaves increased with treatment time and increased concentration of Cd. Antioxidant enzymes appear to play a key role in resistance to Cd under stress conditions.
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Abstract

The aim of this paper is to present characteristics, toxicity and environmental behavior of nanoparticles (NPs) (silver, copper, gold, zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, iron oxide) that most frequently occur in consumer products. In addition, NPs are addressed as the new aquatic environmental pollutant of the 21st century. NPs are adsorbed onto particles in the aquatic systems (clay minerals, fulvic and humic acids), or they can adsorb environmental pollutants (heavy metal ions, organic compounds). Nanosilver (nAg) is released from consumer products into the aquatic environment. It can threaten aquatic organisms with high toxicity. Interestingly, copper nanoparticles (Cu-NPs) demonstrate higher toxicity to bacteria and aquatic microorganisms than those of nanosilver nAg. Their small size and reactivity can cause penetration into the tissues and interfere with the metabolic systems of living organisms and bacterial biogeochemical cycles. The behavior of NPs is not fully recognized. Nevertheless, it is known that NPs can agglomerate, bind with ions (chlorides, sulphates, phosphates) or organic compounds. They can also be bound or immobilized by slurry. The NPs behavior depends on process conditions, i.e. pH, ionic strength, temperature and presence of other chemical compounds. It is unknown how NPs behave in the aquatic environment. Therefore, the research on this problem should be carried out under different process conditions. As for the toxicity, it is important to understand where the differences in the research results come from. As NPs have an impact on not only aquatic organisms but also human health and life, it is necessary to recognize their toxic doses and know standards/regulations that determine the permissible concentrations of NPs in the environment.
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