Evaluation of metal nano-particles as growth promoters and fungi inhibitors for cereal crops
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Background: Nano-particles of metals can be routinely synthesized. The cereal seeds treatment with the particles can improve early growth and crop production. Moreover, the treatment is robust and economical.
Methods: Metal (Fe0, Cu0, Co0), zinc oxide (ZnO) and chitosan-stabilized silver nano-particles were synthesized and applied to cereal seeds. The germination rate, early plant development and inhibition effects on pathogenic fungi were quantified.
Results: It was found that all nano-particles had a positive effect on the development of healthy cereal seedlings. In particular, the length of the above-ground part of the seedlings was increased by 8–22%. The highest inhibition effect was observed on Helminthosporium teres with the application of Co0 and chitosan-Ag. Pre-sowing treatment with metal nano-particles reduced the number of infected grains by two times for wheat and 3.6 times for barley. The application also increases the chlorophylls and carotenoids in both uninfected and infected seedlings.
Conclusions: The results demonstrated a robust application of nano-particles in improving cereal production. Graphical Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]
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