Advance in 'nano-agriculture': Tiny stuff has huge effect on plant growth

Oct 21, 2009
Tomato seeds exposed to carbon nanotubes (right) sprouted and grew faster than unexposed seeds (left). Credit: The American Chemical Society

With potential adverse health and environmental effects often in the news about nanotechnology, scientists in Arkansas are reporting that carbon nanotubes (CNTs) could have beneficial effects in agriculture.

Their study, scheduled for the October issue of ACS Nano, found that tomato seeds exposed to CNTs germinated faster and grew into larger, heavier seedlings than other seeds. That growth-enhancing effect could be a boon for biomass production for plant-based biofuels and other agricultural products, they suggest.

Mariya Khodakovskaya, Alexandru Biris, and colleagues note that considerable scientific research is underway to use — wisps 1/50,000th the width of a human hair — in agriculture. The goals of "nano-agriculture" include improving the productivity of plants for food, fuel, and other uses.

The scientists report the first evidence that CNTs penetrate the hard outer coating of seeds, and have beneficial effects. Nanotube-exposed seeds sprouted up to two times faster than control and the seedlings weighed more than twice as much as the untreated plants. Those effects may occur because nanotubes penetrate the seed coat and boost water uptake, the researchers state. "This observed positive effect of CNTs on the seed germination could have significant economic importance for agriculture, horticulture, and the energy sector, such as for production of biofuels," they add.

More information: "Carbon Nanotubes Are Able To Penetrate Plant Seed Coat and Dramatically Affect Seed Germination and ", ACS Nano, http://pubs.acs.org/stoken/presspac/presspac/full/10.1021/nn900887m

Source: American Chemical Society (news : web)

Explore further: New nanodevice defeats drug resistance

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Can Nanotubes Help Your Garden Grow?

Oct 06, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- When we think of nanotubes, we often think of solar panels and physical science. However, it appears that nanotubes can also provide valuable help to plants as a fertilizer. Just add carbon ...

Carbon nanomaterials may disperse more widely in waterways

Dec 04, 2006

Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) released to the environment in the coming era of industrial-scale production could spread through lakes, rivers and other waterways more widely than previously anticipated, scientists are reporting ...

Recommended for you

New nanodevice defeats drug resistance

11 hours ago

Chemotherapy often shrinks tumors at first, but as cancer cells become resistant to drug treatment, tumors can grow back. A new nanodevice developed by MIT researchers can help overcome that by first blocking ...

Glass coating improves battery performance

11 hours ago

Lithium-sulfur batteries have been a hot topic in battery research because of their ability to produce up to 10 times more energy than conventional batteries, which means they hold great promise for applications ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Yulia_Rudy
not rated yet Oct 22, 2009
Excuse me... but am I seeing double?... Did you write about almost same experiment?
http://www.physor...714.html
abhiGHAJINI
not rated yet Nov 09, 2009
Could this lead to the artificiality of crops in the future in a race of production?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.