MDPI, Nanomaterials, 8(11), p. 1922, 2021
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Plant-derived nanovesicles (NVs) have attracted interest due to their anti-inflammatory, anticancer and antioxidative properties and their efficient uptake by human intestinal epithelial cells. Previously we showed that tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) fruit is one of the interesting plant resources from which NVs can be obtained at a high yield. In the course of the isolation of NVs from different batches of tomatoes, using the established differential ultracentrifugation or size-exclusion chromatography methods, we occasionally observed the co-isolation of viral particles. Density gradient ultracentrifugation (gUC), using sucrose or iodixanol gradient materials, turned out to be efficient in the separation of NVs from the viral particles. We applied cryogenic transmission electron microscopy (cryo-TEM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) for the morphological assessment and LC–MS/MS-based proteomics for the protein identification of the gradient fractions. Cryo-TEM showed that a low-density gUC fraction was enriched in membrane-enclosed NVs, while the high-density fractions were rich in rod-shaped objects. Mass spectrometry–based proteomic analysis identified capsid proteins of tomato brown rugose fruit virus, tomato mosaic virus and tomato mottle mosaic virus. In another batch of tomatoes, we isolated tomato spotted wilt virus, potato virus Y and southern tomato virus in the vesicle sample. Our results show the frequent co-isolation of plant viruses with NVs and the utility of the combination of cryo-TEM, SEM and proteomics in the detection of possible viral contamination.