In agriculture and food industry, nanotechnology can be utilized to improve crop yield, food quality, shelf life, safety, cost and nutritional benefits. Zinc is a trace element and its deficiency causes health problems in human beings and animals. The use of zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs) is growing exponentially in food industry, biomedicine and nanofertilizer segment. A remarkable presence of nanomaterials in ecosystem and consumer products can cause adverse effects. Hence, it is an important challenge for the use of nanoparticles in agriculture as fertilizer to enhance plant yield on one hand and their interaction with the cells of the innate immune system in animals on the other hand. So, public concern about their potential toxicity is increasing. ZnO NPs interact with cells and produce harmful effects in a dose dependent manner. The reactive oxygen species generation might be a reason for the toxicity of ZnO NPs. The toxicity is caused due to dissolved Zn++ ions by absorption which causes adverse effect on phagocytosis and oxidative stress by free radical while Withania somnifera induced the phagocytosis activity by antioxidant mechanism thus having protective effects. It is emphasized that further research is needed on the use of nanoparticles in agriculture, animal husbandry, and human health sector so that their safer levels for use could be ascertained.
Part of the book: Biochemical Toxicology