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The study aims to document the effect of starch-stabilised copper-based nanoparticles (CuNPs) on the biosynthesis of pharmaceutically valuable secondary metabolites, especially saponins, of the reputed nootropic herb (L.) Pennell. CuNPs were synthesised chemically by the reduction of cupric sulphate pentahydrate with ascorbic acid using starch as the capping agent. They were characterised by UV-visible spectrophotometry, Fourier-transform infra-red spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, high-resolution transmission electron microscopy and zeta potential. The nanoparticles consisted of cuprous oxide and metallic copper, were approximately spherical, polydispersed with diameter <20 nm. Hydroponically grown plants were treated in vivo with the CuNPs between the concentrations of 0-100 mg l. Spectrophotometric estimation of the total contents of saponins, alkaloids, phenolics, flavonoids and DPPH radical scavenging capacity from the methanolic extracts of the whole plants showed a hormetic increase in the content of secondary metabolites in a concentration-dependent manner from 5 mg l until it declined at toxic metabolic concentration. This was accompanied by an increase in ROS markers hydrogen peroxide and malondialdehyde as well as a hormetic effect on activities of phenylalanine ammonia lyase and antioxidant enzymes catalase, ascorbate peroxidase and superoxide dismutase. CuNPs at sub-toxic concentrations were found to enhance secondary metabolism and antioxidant capacity in through ROS-mediated defence response.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: IET nanobiotechnology
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