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Water-soluble carbon nano-onions (wsCNOs) isolated from wood wool—a wood-based pyrolysis waste product of wood, can enhance the overall growth rate of gram (Cicer arietinum) plants. Treatment of plants with upto 30 μg mL−1 of wsCNOs for an initial 10 day period in laboratory conditions led to an increase in the overall growth of the plant biomass. In order to examine the growth stimulating effects of wsCNOs under natural conditions, 10 day-old plants treated with and without wsCNOs were transplanted into soil of standard carbon and nitrogen composition. We observed an enhanced growth rate of the wsCNOs pre-treated plants in soil, which finally led to an increased productivity of plants in terms of a larger number of grams. On analyzing the carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen (CHN) content for the shoot and fruit sections of the plants treated with and without wsCNOs, only a minor difference in the composition was noticed. However, a slight increase in the percentage of carbon and hydrogen in shoots reflects the synthesis of more organic biomass in the case of treated plants. This work shows that wsCNOs are non-toxic to plant cells and can act as efficient growth stimulants which can be used as benign growth promoters.
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