In vitro toxicity of silver nanoparticles to kiwifruit pollen exhibits peculiar traits beyond the cause of silver ion release

Anna Speranza, Rita Crinelli, Valeria Scoccianti, Anna Rita Taddei, Marta Iacobucci, Priyanka Bhattacharya, Pu Chun Ke

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31 Citations (Scopus)


The vast use of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) mandates thorough investigation of their impact on biosystems at various levels. The cytotoxicity of PVP coated-AgNPs to pollen, the aploid male gametophyte of higher plants, has been assessed here for the first time. The negative effects of AgNPs include substantial decreases in pollen viability and performance, specific ultrastructural alterations, early changes in calcium content, and unbalance of redox status. Ag+ released from AgNPs damaged pollen membranes and inhibited germination to a greater extent than the AgNPs themselves. By contrast, the AgNPs were more potent at disrupting the tube elongation process. ROS deficiency and overproduction were registered in the Ag+- and AgNP-treatment, respectively. The peculiar features of AgNP toxicity reflected their specific modes of interaction with pollen surface and membranes, and the dynamic exchange between coating (PVP) and culture medium. In contrast, the effects of Ag+ were most likely induced through chemical/ physicochemical interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-267
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Actinidia deliciosa
  • Pollen germination
  • Silver ions
  • Silver nanoparticles
  • Toxicity

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