Document Type : Research Paper


1 Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Biology, Islamshahr Branch, Islamic Azad University, Islamshahr, Iran.

2 Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, Islamshahr Branch, Islamic Azad University, Islamshahr, Iran.

3 Professor, Department of Biology, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.

4 Assistant Professor, Medicinal Plants Research Center, Shahed University, Tehran, Iran.


In order to investigate the physiological responses of black cumin seed (Nigella sativa L.) under different concentrations of silver nanoparticles (0, 2.5, 5, 10, 20, 40, and 80 mg/L AgNPs), a completely randomized design experiment is conducted with 5 replications in the greenhouse of Shahed University in 2018. In the present study, growth traits, photosynthetic pigments, anthocyanins, proline content, glycine betaine, soluble and insoluble sugars, phenolic compounds and gas exchange, and fluorescence parameters of the photosynthetic apparatus are investigated. The results show that the AgNPs treatments significantly inhibit biomass production and the growth of root and shoot, decreasing the contents of chlorophyll a and b at high concentrations (20, 40 and 80 mg/L), while the AgNPs treatments increase the content of carotenoids, proline, glycine betaine, soluble sugars, anthocyanins, and phenolic compounds, compared to the control. By increasing the concentration of AgNPs, photosynthetic rate, transpiration rate, stomatal conductance, the maximal quantum yield of PSII photochemistry, photochemical quenching coefficient, and effective quantum yield of PSII photochemistry decline. Measurement of fluorescence show strong evidence of inhibitory effects on energy transfer from light harvesting complexes to reaction centers, the deterioration of the PSII water splitting system and the inactivation of PSII reaction centers at high concentrations of AgNPs. In conclusion, the results demonstrate that AgNPs induce an inhibitory mechanism on photosynthetic processes and biomass of black seed plants.


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