John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Phytotoxicity of soluble graphitic nanofibers to model plant species

Carbon nanomaterials are considered promising for applications in energy storage, catalysis, and electronics. This has motivated study of their potential environmental toxicity. Recently a novel nanomaterial consisting of graphene oxide (GO) wrapped around a carbon nanotube (CNT) core was synthesized. The resulting soluble graphitic nanofibers (SGNFs) were found to have superior catalytic properties, which could result in their use in fuel cells. Before this material undergoes widespread use its environmental toxicity must be determined due to its aqueous solubility. Here we used the plant species Lolium multiflorum, Solanum lycopersicum, and Lactuca sativa to study the toxicity of the soluble graphitic nanofibers, as well as multi‐walled CNTs (MWCNTs) and GO, all synthesized in‐house. SGNF exposed plant roots and shoots showed decreased growth, with roots showing more toxicity than shoots. Decreased pH of nanomaterial solutions corresponded to insignificantly decreased root growth, suggesting another mechanism of toxicity must exist. Agglomeration and adsorption of SGNFs onto the roots likely caused the remaining toxicity as a gray layer could be seen around the surface of the root. MWCNTs showed little toxicity over the concentration range tested, while GO showed a unique pattern of high toxicity at both the lowest and highest concentrations tested. Overall, SGNFs showed a moderate toxicity between that of the more toxic GO and the relatively non‐toxic MWCNTs. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

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