The use of metallic oxide nanoparticles to enhance growth of tomatoes and eggplants in disease infested soil or soilless medium
Nanoparticles (NP) have great potential in agriculture. For example, micronutrients have poor mobility in plants and poor availability in neutral soils, yet they play pivotal roles in root health. We investigated whether foliar sprays of micronutrient NP could affect plant health in disease infested soils. In the greenhouse, NP of AlO, CuO, FeO, MnO, NiO, and ZnO were sprayed on tomatoes and grown in soilless medium infested with the Fusarium wilt fungus. NP of CuO, MnO, or ZnO reduced disease estimates [area-under-the-disease-progress-curve (AUDPC)] by 31%, 28%, or 28%, respectively, when compared to untreated controls. When NP of CuO, MnO, or ZnO, their bulked equivalents, or their sulfate salts were compared to untreated eggplants and held in the greenhouse in soilless medium infested with the Verticillium wilt fungus, NP of CuO increased fresh weights by 64%, reduced AUDPC values by 69%, and had 32% more Cu in the roots. These same amendments were sprayed onto the foliage of tomato and eggplant transplants and set in field plots in soil heavily infested with the Verticillium wilt fungus. Compared to untreated controls, yields of tomato were 33% or 31% greater with NP of CuO or the bulked MnO, respectively. NP of CuO or ZnSO4 increased eggplant yields by 34% or 41% when compared to controls, respectively. In vitro studies found NP of CuO were not inhibitory to the Fusarium wilt fungus, suggesting host defense was being manipulated.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization 2015