Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles Mitigate Toxic Effects of Cadmium Heavy Metal in Chilli (Capsicum annuum L.)


  • Syed Mazhar Irfan Department of Botany, Hafiz Hayat Campus, University of Gujrat, Gujrat, Pakistan
  • Khizar Hayat Bhatti Department of Botany, Hafiz Hayat Campus, University of Gujrat, Gujrat, Pakistan




Cd, Chilli, Interactions, Mitigation, ZnO-NPs


Heavy metals contaminated soils and water sources are one of the major global causes of inhibition of plant growth and productivity. Different strategies are being employed to overcome the challenging issue to increase plant yield requirements to fulfil the needs of future generations. The objective of the present study was to observe the effects of spray (foliar) of green synthesized ZnO nanoparticles (100 ppm), alone and its interaction in conjugation with Cd (Cd+ZnO-NPs) 100 ppm of both on the growth and biochemical activities of the target plant, i.e., two chilli varieties. After two weeks of transplant, treatments viz., Control (T1), ZnO nanoparticles 100 ppm (T2), Cd 100 ppm (T3), and ZnO nanoparticles 100 ppm + Cd 100 ppm (T4) were given for six weeks and different parameters of growth and biochemical analysis were made. Results have shown that 100 ppm foliar spray of ZnO-NPs has significantly increasing effects on root and shoot growth of chilli plants in alone (ZnO nanoparticles) and Combined (ZnO nanoparticles +Cd heavy metal) treatments mitigating toxic effects of Cd stress. A similar increase in values of total carbohydrates, soluble proteins, free amino acids, and photosynthetic pigments were observed mostly in a combination of Cd+ZnO-NPs treatment showing remediation properties of ZnO nanoparticles against Cd stress in chilli plant. In conclusion, it may be suggested that 100 ppm ZnO-NPs foliar spray can have an increasing effect on the growth parameters of the plants under stressful conditions of Cd heavy metal.


G. Scrinis, and K. Lyons. The emerging nano-corporate paradigm: Nanotechnology and transformation of nature, food and agri-food systems. International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food 15: 22-44 (2007).

F.K. Zengin, and O. Munzuroglu. Effect of some heavy metals on content of chlorophyll, proline and some antioxidant chemicals in bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) seedlings. Acta Biologica Cracoviensia Series Botanica 47(2): 157-164 (2005).

M.A. Hossain, P. Piyatida, J.A.T. da Silva, and M. Fujita. Molecular mechanism of heavy metal toxicity and tolerance in plants: central role of glutathione in detoxification of reactive oxygen species and methylglyoxal and in heavy metal chelation. Journal of Botany 2012: Article ID872875, 37 (2012).

O. Sytar, A. Kumar, D. Latowski, P. Kuczynska, K. Strzalka, and M.N.V. Prasad. Heavy metal-induced oxidative damage, defense reactions and detoxification mechanisms in plants. Acta Physiologiae Plantarum 35(4): 985-999 (2013).

N. Rascio, and F. Navari-Izzo. Heavy metal hyperaccumulating plants: how and why do they do it? And what makes them so interesting? Plant Science 180(2): 169–181 (2011).

A. Schützendübel, and A. Polle. Plant responses to abiotic stresses: heavy metal-induced oxidative stress and protection by mycorrhization, Journal of Experimental Botany 53(372): 1351–1365 (2002).

B.V. Tangahu, R.S. Abdullah, H. Basri, M. Idris, M. Anwar, and M. Mukhlisin. A review on heavy metals (As, Pb, and Hg) uptake by plants through phytoremediation. International Journal of Chemical Engineering 2011: Article ID 939161, 31 (2011).

B. Zhou, W. Yao, S. Wang, X. Wang, and T. Jiang. The metallothionein gene, TaMT3, from Tamarix androssowii conifers Cd2+ tolerance in Tobacco. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 15(6): 10398–10409 (2014).

P.C. Nagajyoti, K.D. Lee, and T.V.M. Sreekanth. Heavy metals, occurrence and toxicity for plants: a Review. Environmental Chemistry Letters 8(3): 199-216 (2010).

H. Ali, E. Khan, and M.A. Sajad. Phyto remediation of heavy metals-concepts and applications. Chemosphere 91(7): 869-881 (2013).

P. Das, S. Samantaray, and G.R. Rout. Studies on cadmium toxicity in plants: a review. Environmental Pollution 98: 29-36 (1997).

W.T. Liu, Q.X. Zhou, J. An, Y.B. Sun and R. Liu. Variations in cadmium accumulation among Chinese cabbage cultivars and screening for Cd-safe cultivars. Journal of Hazardous Materials 173: 737-743 (2010).

S. Uraguchi, S. Mori, M. Kuramata, A. Kawasaki, T. Arao, and S. Ishikawa. Root to-shoot Cd translocation via the xylem is the major process determining shoot and grain cadmium accumulation in rice. Journal of Experimental Botany 60: 2677-2688 (2009).

W.T. Liu, Q.X. Zhou, Z.N. Zhang, T. Hua, and Z. Cai. Evaluation of cadmium phytoremediation potential in Chinese cabbage cultivars. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 59: 8324-8330 (2011).

B. Yousaf, G. Liu, R. Wang, M. Zia-Ur-Rehman, M. Rizwan, M. Imtiaz, G. Murtaza, and A. Shakoor. Investigating the potential influence of biochar and traditional organic amendments on the bioavailability and transfer of Cd in the soil plant system. Environmental Earth Sciences 75: 374 (2016).

C. Ma, J.C. White, O.P. Dhankher, and B. Xing. Metal-based nanotoxicity and detoxification pathways in higher plants. Environmental Science & Technology 49:7109-7122 (2015).

S. Dubchak, A. Ogar, J.W. Mietelski, and K. Turnau. Influence of silver and titanium nanoparticles on arbuscular mycorrhiza colonization and accumulation of radiocaesium in Helianthus annuus. Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research 8:103-108 (2010).

A. Nel, T. Xia, L. Madler, and N. Li. Toxic potential of materials at the nano level. Science 311:622-627 (2006).

F. Cai, X. Wu, H. Zhang, X. Shen, M. Zhang, W. Chen, Q. Gao, J.C. White, S. Tao, and X. Wang. Impact of TiO2 nanoparticles on lead uptake and bioaccumulation in rice (Oryza sativa L.). Nano Impact 5: 101-108 (2017).

Y. Ji, Y. Zhou, C. Ma, Y. Feng, Y. Hao, Y. Rui, W. Wu, X. Gui, V.N. Le, Y. Han, Y. Wang, B. Xing, L. Liu, and W. Cao. Jointed toxicity of TiO2 NPs and Cd to rice seedlings: NPs alleviated Cd toxicity and Cd promoted NPs uptake. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry 110: 82-93 (2017).

A. Hussain, S. Ali, M. Rizwan, M. Zia Ur Rehman, M.R. Javed, M. Imran, S.A.S. Chatha, and R. Nazir. Zinc oxide nanoparticles alter the wheat physiological response and reduce the cadmium uptake by plants. Environmental Pollution 242: 1518-1526 (2018).

F. Wang, C.A. Adams, Z. Shi, and Y. Sun. Combined effects of ZnO NPs and Cd on sweet sorghum as influenced by an arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus. Chemosphere 209: 421-429 (2018).

M. Rizwan, S. Ali, B. Ali, M. Adrees, M. Arshad, A. Hussain, M. Zia ur Rehman, and A.A. Waris. Zinc and iron oxide nanoparticles improved the plant growth and reduced the oxidative stress and cadmium concentration in wheat. Chemosphere 214: 269-277 (2019a).

L. Rossi, W. Zhang, A.P. Schwab, and X. Ma. Uptake, accumulation, and in planta distribution of coexisting cerium oxide nanoparticles and cadmium in Glycine max (L.) Merr. Environmental Science & Technology 51: 12815-12824 (2017).

L. Rossi, H. Sharifan, W. Zhang, A.P. Schwab, and X. Ma. Mutual effects and in planta accumulation of co-existing cerium oxide nanoparticles and cadmium in hydroponically grown soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.). Environmental Science: Nano 5: 150-157 (2018).

A. Konate, X. He, Z. Zhang, Y. Ma, P. Zhang, G. Alugongo, and R. Yokoi. Magnetic (Fe3O4) nanoparticles reduce heavy metals uptake and mitigate their toxicity in wheat seedling. Sustainability 9: 790 (2017).

Rizwan, M., S. Ali, M. Zia ur Rehman, M. Adrees, M. Arshad, M.F. Qayyum, L. Ali, A. Hussain, S.A.S. Chatha, and M. Imran. Alleviation of cadmium accumulation in maize (Zea mays L.) by foliar spray of zinc oxide nanoparticles and biochar to contaminated soil. Environmental Pollution 248: 358-367 (2019b).

H.J. Lee, G. Lee, N.R. Jang, J.H. Yun, J.Y. Song, and B.S. Kim. Biological synthesis of copper nanoparticles using plant extract. Nanotechnology 1(1): 371-374 (2011).

F.H. Witham, D.F. Blaydes, and R.M. Devlin. Experiments in plant physiology. Van Nostand Reinhold Co., New York. pp 55- 58 (1971).

M.M. Bradford. A rapid and sensitive method for the quantitation of microgram quantities of protein utilizing the principal of protein-dye binding. Analytical Biochemistry 72: 248- 254 (1976).

O.H. Lowry, N.H. Rosebraugh, A.L. Farr, and R.J. Randel. Protein measurement with Folin phenol reagent. Journal of Biological Chemistry 193: 265-275 (1951).

G. Ashwell. Colorimetric analysis of sugars. In: Methods in Enzymology. Academic Press, New York. pp 84-85 (1957).

K.A. Gomez, and A.A. Gomez. Statistical procedures for agricultural research. 2nd ed. Wiley, New York. pp 680 (1984).

P. Venkatachalam, M. Jayaraj, R. Manikandan, N. Geetha, E.R. Rene, N.C. Sharma, and S.V. Sahi. Zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO -NPs) alleviate heavy metal-induced toxicity in Leucaena leucocephala seedlings: A physiochemical analysis. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry 110: 59–69 (2017).

M. Rizwan, S. Ali, M.Z. ur Rehman, M.R. Javed, and A. Bashir. Lead toxicity in cereals and its management strategies: a critical review. Water Air Soil Pollution 229: 211 10.1007/s11270-018-3865-3 (2018).

Z.S. Khan, H. Rizwan, M. Hafeez, S. Ali, M.R. Javed, and M. Adrees. The accumulation of cadmium in wheat (Triticum aestivum) as influenced by zinc oxide nanoparticles and soil moisture conditions. Environmental Science and Pollution Research 26: 19859–19870 (2019).

Y. Yang, Y. Li, W. Chen, M. Wang, T. Wang, and Y. Dai. Dynamic interactions between soil cadmium and zinc affect cadmium Phyto availability to rice and wheat: regional investigation and risk modeling. Environmental Pollution 267: 115613 (2020).

A. Hussain, M. Rizwan, S. Ali, Zia ur Rehman, M.F. Qayyum, R. Nawaz, A. Ahmad, M. Asrar, S.R. Ahmad, A.A. Alsahli, and M.N. Alyemeni. Combined use of different nanoparticles effectively decreased cadmium (Cd) concentration in grains of wheat grown in a field contaminated with Cd. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 215(2021): 112139 (2021).

S. Hussain, Z. Rengel, M. Qaswar, M. Amir, and M. Zafar-ul-Hye. Arsenic and Heavy Metal (Cadmium, Lead, Mercury and Nickel) Contamination in Plant Based Foods. Plant and Human Health, 2: 447-490 (2019).

I. Khan, M.A. Raza, S.A. Awan, G.A. Shah, M. Rizwan, and B. Ali. Amelioration of salt induced toxicity in pearl millet by seed priming with silver nanoparticles (AgNPs): The oxidative damage, antioxidant enzymes and ions uptake are major determinants of salt tolerant capacity. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry 156: 221–232 (2020).

N. Manzoor, T. Ahmad, M. Noman, M. Shahid, M.M. Nazir, L. Ali, T.S. Alnusaire, B. Li, R. Schulin, and G. Wang. Iron oxide nanoparticles ameliorated the cadmium and salinity stresses in wheat plant, facilitating Photosynthetic pigments and restricting cadmium uptake. Science of The Total Environment 769: 145221 (2021).

M. Adil, M., S. Bashir, Z. Aslam, N. Ahmad, T. Younas, R.M.A. Asghar, J. Alkahtani, Y. Dwiningsih, and M.S. Elsheikh. Zinc oxide nanoparticles improved chlorophyll contents, physical parameters, and wheat yield under salt stress. Frontier in Plant Science 13: 932861. Doi; 10.3389/fpls.2022.932861 (2022).

X. Liu, F. Wang, Z. Shi, R. Tong, and X. Shi. Bio availability of Zn in ZnO nanoparticle-spiked soil and the implications to maize plants. Journal of Nanoparticle Research 17: 1-11 (2015).

M. Noman, T. Ahmed, S. Hussain, M.B.K. Niazi, M. Shahid, and F. Song. Biogenic copper nanoparticles synthesized by using a copper-resistant strain Shigella flexneri SNT22 reduced the translocation of cadmium from soil to wheat plants. Journal of Hazardous Materials 398: 123175 (2020).

M.A. Shallan, H.M.M. Hassan, A.A.M. Namich, and A.I. Alshaimaa. Biochemical and physiological effects of TiO2 and SiO2 Nanoparticles on cotton plant under drought stress. Research Journal of Pharmaceutical, Biological and Chemical Sciences 7(4):1540-1551 (2016).

A. Hussain, S. Ali, M. Rizwan, M.Z. Rehman, M.R. Javed, M. Imran, S.A.S. Chatha, and R. Nazir. Zinc oxide nanoparticles alter the wheat physiological response and reduce the cadmium uptake by plants. Environmental Pollution 242: 1518-1526 (2018).




How to Cite

Syed Mazhar Irfan, & Khizar Hayat Bhatti. (2023). Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles Mitigate Toxic Effects of Cadmium Heavy Metal in Chilli (Capsicum annuum L.). Proceedings of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences: B. Life and Environmental Sciences, 60(3), 477–487. https://doi.org/10.53560/PPASB(60-3)854



Research Articles