Effect of metal and metal oxide nanoparticles on growth and physiology of globally important food crops: A critical review

Muhammad Rizwan, Shafaqat Ali, Muhammad Farooq Qayyum, Yong Sik Ok, Muhammad Adrees, Muhammad Ibrahim, Muhammad Zia-ur-Rehman, Mujahid Farid, Farhat Abbas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

400 Citations (Scopus)


The concentrations of engineered metal and metal oxide nanoparticles (NPs) have increased in the environment due to increasing demand of NPs based products. This is causing a major concern for sustainable agriculture. This review presents the effects of NPs on agricultural crops at biochemical, physiological and molecular levels. Numerous studies showed that metal and metal oxide NPs affected the growth, yield and quality of important agricultural crops. The NPs altered mineral nutrition, photosynthesis and caused oxidative stress and induced genotoxicity in crops. The activities of antioxidant enzymes increased at low NPs toxicity while decreased at higher NPs toxicity in crops. Due to exposure of crop plants to NPs, the concentration of NPs increased in different plant parts including fruits and grains which could transfer to the food chain and pose a threat to human health. In conclusion, most of the NPs have both positive and negative effects on crops at physiological, morphological, biochemical and molecular levels. The effects of NPs on crop plants vary greatly with plant species, growth stages, growth conditions, method, dose, and duration of NPs exposure along with other factors. Further research orientation is also discussed in this review article.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-16
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of hazardous materials
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jan 15
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier B.V.


  • Crop plants
  • Genotoxicity
  • Metals toxicity
  • Plant biochemistry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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