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Eager: Implications Of Engineered Nanoparticles In The Natural Food Supply


<p>INTRODUCTION: The use of engineered nanoparticles (particles ranging from 1-100nm in at least one dimension) has increased tremendously within the last decade. Engineered nanoparticles (ENPs) have found a wide range of uses from personal care products to optical electronics, for human drug delivery, environmental remediation, as industrial catalysts, and for energy storage, to name afew. This widespread use of ENPs has led to their release into the environment and subsequent introduction into aquatic and atmospheric systems. This, in turn, leads to their uptake in agricultural crops intended for human consumption.
<br>INTELLECTUAL MERIT: To date, research on the effects of nanoparticles on plants has focused primarily on their phytotoxicity. The research proposed herein, will focus on the impact of plant uptake of nanoparticles on the quality and safety of the food supply. Our overarching research goal is to track the fate and transport of nanoparticles from their release in the environment into the food supply. It is our hypothesis that morphology and surface characteristics of nanoparticles can be correlated to specific behavior within a given plant type. The correlations can then be used to develop physical and mathematical models for broad categories of plants and distinct classes of nanoparticles that will allow for a reasonably rapid and accurate estimation of the fate of specific nanoparticles in specific plants.
<br>BROADER IMPACTThe proposed research, if successful, will provide the groundwork for the development of a series of models that may be used to elucidate the fate of nanoparticles in food. In addition,the methodology for development of these models could also apply to other types of contaminants in the food supply, and may also be applied to other aspects of nanoparticles interactions. In addition to the training of one graduate student, undergraduate students will be involved in the research through the Research and Extension Scholars program in the College of Engineering Sciences, Technology and Agriculture.</p>

Cooper, Adrienne; Louime, Clifford; Mbuya, Odemari
Florida A&M University
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