Phytostimulatory effect of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) on rice seedling growth: An insight from antioxidative enzyme activities and gene expression patterns

S. Dutta Gupta, A. Agarwal, S. Pradhan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

175 Scopus citations


The knowledge on the mode of action, biocompatibility and ecological tolerance of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) is gradually accumulating over the years with contradictory findings. Most of the studies indicated the toxic impact of AgNPs on plant growth and development, where induction of oxidative stress was considered to be one of the causal factors. The present study demonstrates the phytostimulatory effect of bio-synthesized silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) during seed germination and seedling growth of rice (Oryza sativa L., cv. Swarna) under in vitro condition. All the tested concentrations of AgNPs (10, 20, 40 ppm) promote both the shoot and root growth which was evident from the increased length and biomass of the seedlings. Exposure to AgNPs also significantly increased the chlorophyll a and carotenoid contents. The content and the pattern of distribution of phenolic metabolites among the different treatments are indicative of non-toxic impact of AgNP mimicking mild or no stress to the seedlings. Growth stimulation of rice seedlings by AgNPs was further supported by a low level of reactive oxygen species (ROS) concomitant with decreased amount of lipid peroxidation and H2O2 content, compared to control. In order to unravel the stimulatory impact of AgNPs on rice seedling growth, the present study also describes the AgNPs induced changes in antioxidative enzyme activity and related gene expression levels. Elevated levels of catalase (CAT), ascorbate peroxidase (APX) and glutathione reductase (GR) activities were recorded in all the AgNPs treated seedlings with improved growth. The activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD) was not significantly altered at low concentration of AgNPs. It appears that enzymes of ascorbate cycle, APX and GR are more active in ensuring protection against oxidative damage than SOD. There was significant up-regulation of CAT and APX gene expressions in seedlings exposed to AgNPs, whereas the expression level of CuZnSOD gene was decreased gradually with an increase in the concentration of AgNPs. The antioxidant enzyme activities and gene expression patterns coupled with the levels of H2O2 and lipid peroxidation indicates that the efficiency of redox reactions was increased in the presence of AgNPs and that accelerates the seedling growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)624-633
Number of pages10
JournalEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
StatePublished - Oct 15 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Catalase
  • Oryza sativa L
  • Oxidative stress
  • Peroxidase
  • Seed germination
  • Silver nanoparticles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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