Metz, K. M., Sanders, S. E., Miller, A. K., & French, K. R. (2014). Uptake and Impact of Silver Nanoparticles on Brassica rapa: An Environmental Nanoscience Laboratory Sequence for a Nonmajors Course. Journal of Chemical Education, 91(2), 264-268.
Abstract: Nanoscience is one of the fast growing fields in science and engineering. Curricular materials ranging from laboratory experiments to entire courses have been developed for undergraduate science majors. However, little material has been developed for the nonmajor students. Here we present a semester-long laboratory sequence developed for a nonmajors course, where students investigate the potential environmental impacts of nanoscience. Students synthesize and characterize silver nanoparticles using green synthetic methods. They then use the suspension of silver nanoparticles to “water” Wisconsin Fast Plants, Brassica rapa, over a three to four week period to simulate environmental exposure. Possible impacts are examined throughout the growth period, and silver uptake by the plants is quantified at the end of the growth period. This lab requires design input from the student, making it an open-ended experiment. Although designed for nonmajors, this lab could easily be adapted for an environmental chemistry or chemical nanoscience course.