Date of Graduation

Summer 2021


Master of Science in Chemistry


Chemistry and Biochemistry

Committee Chair

Cyren Rico


The effects of perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) on agricultural plants is a serious environmental concern that needs to be addressed. PFOS is a member of a class of organic chemical compounds known as per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). These compounds are utility chemicals in household, commercial, and industrial items, but have become environmental contaminants of global concern. Full lifecycle and short-term exposure studies of wheat grown in soil amended with 0, 25, and 50 mg/kg PFOS were conducted to assess the impacts of PFOS on wheat. PFOS uptake analysis, physiological assays, elemental analysis, and metabolomics were carried out in the full lifecycle study, while growth characters, chlorophyll content, and lipid peroxidation were assessed in the short-term exposure study. Data showed that PFOS was taken up by wheat roots and translocated to the shoots and grains; PFOS in the roots, shoots, and grains of the 50 mg/kg treated plants were 2588, 347, and 26-fold more than the respective tissues of the control plants. Furthermore, decreased grain yield (34%), root biomass (37%), chlorophyll a and b contents (49% and 41%, respectively), magnesium (15%), phosphorus (14%), and potassium (14%) concentrations, major carbohydrate sugars and their precursors, some amino acids were observed due to PFOS exposure. In addition, increased lipid peroxidation (49%), upregulation of oleic acid (216%), linolenic acid (310%), metabolites involved in nitrogen fixation, and iron toxicity was observed, indicating that PFOS induced phytotoxicity through oxidative stress in wheat and negatively impacted its nutritional quality.


Grains, PFAS, Elemental Concentration, Stress, Toxicity

Subject Categories

Analytical Chemistry | Environmental Chemistry


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Open Access