With the world population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, engineers and scientists are looking for ways to meet the increasing demand for food without also increasing the strain on natural resources, such as water and energy — an initiative known as the food-water-energy nexus.
Ramesh Raliya, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher, and Pratim Biswas, PhD, the Lucy & Stanley Lopata Professor and chair of the Department of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering, both at the School of Engineering & Applied Science at Washington University in St. Louis, are addressing this issue by using nanoparticles to boost the nutrient content and growth of tomato plants. Taking a clue from their work with solar cells, the team found that by using zinc oxide and titanium dioxide nanoparticles, the tomato plants better absorbed light and minerals, and the fruit had higher antioxidant content.
“When a plant grows, it signals the soil that it needs nutrients,” Biswas says. “The nutrient it needs is not in a form that the plant can take right away, so it secretes enzymes, which react with the soil and trigger bacterial microbes to turn the nutrients into a form that the plant can use. We’re trying to aid this pathway by adding nanoparticles.”
Zinc is an essential nutrient for plants, helps other enzymes function properly and is an ingredient in conventional fertilizer. Titanium is not an essential nutrient for plants, Raliya says, but boosts light absorption by increasing chlorophyll content in the leaves and promotes photosynthesis, properties Biswas’ lab discovered while creating solar cells.
The team used a very fine spray using novel aerosolization techniques to directly deposit the nanoparticles on the leaves of the plants for maximum uptake.
“We found that our aerosol technique resulted in much greater uptake of nutrients by the plant in comparison to application of the nanoparticles to soil,” Raliya says. “A plant can only uptake about 20 percent of the nutrients applied through soil, with the remainder either forming stable complexes with soil constituents or being washed away with water, causing runoff. In both of the latter cases, the nutrients are unavailable to plants.”
Overall, plants treated with the nanoparticles via aerosol routes produced nearly 82 percent (by weight) more fruit than untreated plants. In addition, the tomatoes from treated plant showed an increase in lycopene, an antioxidant linked to reduced risk of cancer, heart disease and age-related eye disorders, of between 80 percent and 113 percent.
Previous studies by other researchers have shown that increasing the use of nanotechnology in agriculture in densely populated countries such as India and China has made an impact on reducing malnutrition and child mortality. These tomatoes will help address malnutrition, Raliya says, because they allow people to get more nutrients from tomatoes than those conventionally grown.
In the study, published online last month in the journal Metallomics, the team found that the nanoparticles in the plants and the tomatoes were well below the USDA limit and considerably lower than what is used in conventional fertilizer. However, they still have to be cautious and select the best concentration of nanoparticles to use for maximum benefit, Biswas says.
The Latest on: Nano-sized nutrients
via Google News
The Latest on: Nano-sized nutrients
- Carbyne: An unusual form of carbonon November 17, 2020 at 10:29 am
Which photophysical properties does carbyne have? New research has led to a greater understanding of the properties of this unusual form of carbon. Which photophysical properties does carbyne have ...
- Nanocellulose 3D Objects Intricately Designed Using Bacteriaon November 11, 2020 at 7:37 am
When the aerobic bacteria are placed in a superhydrophobic mold with water and nutrients such as proteins ... When placed in contact with human tissues, the nano-sized fibers do not lead to adverse ...
- Scientists use bacteria as micro-3D printerson November 10, 2020 at 9:45 am
Once in a superhydrophobic mould with water and nutrients --sugar ... of a single hair all the way up to 15-20 centimetres. The nano-sized fibres do not cause adverse reactions when placed ...
- Scientists use bacteria as micro-3D printers for nanocellulose (w/video)on November 10, 2020 at 6:43 am
Once in a superhydrophobic mould with water and nutrients —sugar, proteins and air — the ... the diameter of a single hair all the way up to 15-20 centimetres. The nano-sized fibres do not cause ...
- Scientists use bacteria to produce 3D objects made of nanocelluloseon November 9, 2020 at 4:00 pm
Luiz Greca, Doctoral Student, Aalto University Once in a superhydrophobic mold with water and nutrients --sugar ... way up to 15-20 centimeters. The nano-sized fibres do not cause adverse ...
- Flower power to treat cancerson November 9, 2020 at 4:58 am
A consortium of researchers led by WMG at the University of Warwick are to embark on a £3 million research programme called “Cleaning Land for Wealth” (CL4W), that will use a common class of ...
- Laser-powered nanomotors chart their own courseon November 3, 2020 at 4:00 pm
The researchers envision using this technology to create a new platform for nano-sized machinery with moving parts that follow predetermined paths while being nudged along by unfocused light.
- COVID-19 'nanoparticle' vaccine could trigger strong immune responseon November 2, 2020 at 2:06 pm
Nanoparticles, whether they are natural or synthetic, mimic the structural features of viruses, which are often nano-sized themselves. This makes it easier for the the nanoparticles to mold to ...
- Publications of ScopeM staffon June 20, 2019 at 2:28 pm
Acetic acid is a potential breath marker for cystic fibrosis and gastroesophageal reflux. Also, it is a key tracer for aroma development in the food industry for chocolate and cof ...
- What Dust From The Sahara Does To You And The Planeton April 22, 2016 at 2:52 am
Studies have shown that the dust is rich in phosphorus, which is the main source of nutrients for the Amazon ... The ultra-fine nano-sized particles that are better absorbed by plants are blown ...
via Bing News