Nanoparticles (NPs) significantly modify the physiological functions and metabolome of plants. The purpose of a recent study was to investigate the effect of CeO2, Fe2O3, SnO2, TiO2, and SiO2 nanoparticles, applied in foliar spraying of oakleaf lettuce at concentrations 0.75% to 6%, on the antioxidant enzyme activity and content of non-enzymatic antioxidants, chlorophyll pigments, fresh weight (FW) and dry weight (DW).
It was found that 3% Fe2O3-NPs caused a 27% decrease in fresh weight compared to control plants. Fe2O3-NPs caused an increase in dry weight (g 100 g−1 FW) when compared to the control for all concentrations, but total DW (g per plant) was similar for all NPs treatments.
Significant increases in chlorophyll a + b content after treatment with 1.5% and 6% SiO2-NPs, 3% Fe2O3-NPs, and 3% TiO2-NPs were noted.
Fe2O3-NPs caused a significant increase in the activity of ascorbate peroxidase, guaiacol peroxidase, and catalase (only for 3% Fe2O3-NPs).
SnO2-NPs decreased ascorbate peroxidase (APX) and guaiacol peroxidase (GPOX) activity (for all tested concentrations) but increased catalase (CAT) activity when a 3% suspension of these NPs was applied.
The level of glutathione (GSH) increased due to application of all metal/metalloid oxides, with the exception of SnO2-NPs. When all concentrations of TiO2-NPs were applied, L-ascorbic acid increased significantly, as well as increasing at higher concentrations of SiO2-NPs (3% and 6%) and at 0.75% and 3% Fe2O3-NPs.
SiO2-NPs and TiO2-NPs significantly elevated the carotenoid and total phenolic content in treated plants compared to the control. The total antioxidant capacity of plants treated with 3% CeO2-NPs was almost twice as high as that of the control.