Decreased ZnO nanoparticle phytotoxicity to maize by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus and organic phosphorus.Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2018 Aug; 25(24):23736-23747.ES
ZnO nanoparticles (NPs) are applied in a wide variety of applications and frequently accumulate in the environment, thus posing risks to the environment and human health. Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi (AMF) associate symbiotically with roots of most higher plants, helping their host plants acquire phosphorus (P). AMF can reduce the toxicity of ZnO NPs, but the benefits of AMF to host plants highly vary with soil available P. We hypothesize that organic P may help AMF to alleviate ZnO NP phytotoxicity. Here, we investigated the effects of inoculation with Funneliformis mosseae on plant growth and Zn accumulation, using maize grown in soil-sand mix substrates spiked with ZnO NPs (0 or 500 mg kg-1) under different organic P supply levels (0, 20, or 50 mg kg-1). The results showed addition of ZnO NPs inhibited root colonization rate, increased the shoot/root P concentration ratio, and led to significant Zn accumulation in soil and plants. As predicted, AM effects on maize plants all varied with P supply levels, both with or without ZnO NP additions. Organic P interacted synergistically with AMF to promote plant growth and acquisition of P, N, K, Fe, and Cu. AM inoculation reduced the bioavailable Zn released from ZnO NPs and decreased the concentrations and translocation of Zn to maize shoots. In conclusion, ZnO NPs caused excess Zn in soil and plants, posing potential environmental risks. However, our present results first demonstrate that organic P exhibited similar positive effects to AMF and interacted synergistically with AMF to improve plant growth and nutrition, and to decrease Zn accumulation and partitioning in plants, and thus helped diminish the adverse effects induced by ZnO NPs.