Understanding nanoparticle root uptake and root-to-shoot transport might contribute to the use of nanotechnology in plant nutrition. This study performed time resolved experiments to probe Zn uptake, biotransformation and physiological effects on Phaseolus vulgaris (L.). Plants roots were exposed to ZnO nanoparticles (40 and 300 nm) dispersions and ZnSO4(aq) (100 and 1000 mg Zn L-1) for 48 h. Near edge X-ray absorption spectroscopy showed that 40 nm ZnO was more easily dissolved by roots than 300 nm ZnO. It also showed that in the leaves Zn was found as a mixture Zn3(PO4)2 and Zn-histidine complex. X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy showed that root-to-shoot Zn-translocation presented a decreasing gradient of concentration and velocity, it seems radial Zn movement occurs simultaneously to the axial xylem transport. Below 100 mg Zn L-1, the lower stem tissue section served as a buffer preventing Zn from reaching the leaves. Conversely, it was not observed for 1000 mg Zn L-1 ZnSO4(aq). Transcriptional analysis of genes encoding metal carriers indicated higher expression levels of tonoplast-localized transporters, suggesting that the mechanism trend to accumulate Zn in the lower tissues may be associated with an enhanced of Zn compartmentalization in vacuoles. The photosynthetic rate, transpiration, and water conductance were impaired by treatments.