Nanotechnology has been widely applied in agriculture, and understanding of the mechanisms of plant interaction with nanoparticles (NPs) as environmental contaminants is important. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of foliar application of cobalt oxide (Co3O4) NPs on some morpho-physiological and biochemical changes of canola (Brassica napus L.) leaves. Seeds were sown in plastic pots and grown under controlled conditions. Fourteen-day-old seedlings were sprayed with different concentrations of Co3O4 NPs (0, 50, 100, 250, 500, 1000, 2000, and 4000 mg L-1) at weekly intervals for 5 weeks. Growth parameters of the shoot (length, fresh and dry weights) were stimulated by low concentrations of Co3O4 NPs (50 and 100 mg L-1) and repressed by higher concentrations. Similar trends were observed in photosynthetic pigment contents. The results indicated that high concentrations of Co3O4 NPs increased lipoxygenase (LOX) activity and the malondialdehyde (MDA), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), and dehydroascorbate (DHA) contents, but reduced the membrane stability index (MSI), ascorbate (ASC), and glutathione (GSH). Despite the increase of antioxidant capacity (DPPH) and the accumulation of nonenzymatic antioxidants (total flavonoids and flavonols) and osmolytes (proline, glycine betaine (GB) and soluble sugars) at high concentrations of Co3O4 NPs, the growth and photosynthesis were reduced. The defence system activity did not seem to be sufficient to detoxify reactive oxygen species (ROS). Altogether, high concentrations of Co3O4 NPs showed a phytotoxic potential for canola as an oilseed crop.
In the paper toxicity assessment of hospital wastewaters samples was performed using direct-contact tests consisting of five species, which represent three different trophic levels of the food chain. IC50 or EC50 values were estimated for each tested organism: Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata IC50/72h 18.77%, Daphnia magna EC50/48h 20.76%, Thamnocephalus platyurus EC50/24h 22.62%, Artemia salina EC50/24h 59.87% and Vibrio fisheri EC50/15min 46.17%. Toxic potential of hospital wastewater was described using a system of wastewater toxicity classification. The toxic units (TU) values estimated for each test indicate that hospital wastewaters are toxic (Class III). The variable results of the tests’ sensitivity confirmed the need of application of microbiotests battery with organisms of different trophic levels.
The research aimed to use chemical, geochemical, and ecotoxicity indices to assess the heavy metals content in soils with different degrees of exposure to human pressure. The research was conducted in southern Poland, in the Malopolska (Little Poland) province. All metal contents exceeded geochemical background levels. The highest values of the Igeo index were found for cadmium and were 10.05 (grasslands), 9.31 (forest), and 5.54 (arable lands), indicating extreme soil pollution (class 6) with this metal. Mean integrated pollution index (IPI) values, depending on the kind of use, amounted to 3.4 for arable lands, 4.9 for forests, and 6.6 for grasslands. These values are indicative of a high level of soil pollution in arable lands and an extremely high level of soil pollution in grasslands and forests. Depending on the type of soil use, Vibrio fischeri luminescence inhibition was from -33 to 59% (arable lands), from -48 to 78% (grasslands), and from 0 to 88% (forest). Significantly the highest toxicity was found in soils collected from forest grounds.