Green single-stage production of nanoparticles for nanofertilizer

In the latest study published in the journal Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects, green manganese nanoparticles (MnNPs) were created from two different plant extracts, Eucalyptus robusta (ER) and Corymbia citriodora (CC), and their efficacy as nan fertilizers for the treatment of maize seeds (Zea mays) was tested.

Study: Green synthesis of manganese-based nanoparticles mediated by Eucalyptus robusta and Corymbia citriodora for agricultural applications. Image credit: encierro / Shutterstock.com

Nanotechnology has affected a number of industries. In agriculture, it tends to create more ecologically efficient fertilizers and pesticides, resulting in higher agricultural production and fewer ecological effects.

Global agricultural problems

One of humanity’s most difficult issues is to ensure worldwide food availability and reliability. World population expansion, coupled with the modern environmental transition paradigm, a growing shortage of environmental assets, declining levels of crop production in certain nations and a shortage of cropland have increased the need for creative solutions. According to projections, agricultural production must grow by at least 70% by 2050 to meet demand. As a result, it is crucial to accelerate and expand the development of sustainable agriculture to ensure global food security.

Application of nanoscience to agricultural applications

Nanoparticles can be used as environmentally friendly insecticides in agriculture. In addition, it can be used as a fertilizer to mitigate the harmful effects of traditional NPK-based fertilizers. Nevertheless, as an opportunity to mass substances and aqueous formulations, they are used as a crop anchorage to increase germinating seeds and seed strength.

Manganese-based nanoparticles have attracted the interest of agricultural scientists because of their non-toxicity, excellent chemical stability and relatively low cost. These nanoparticles are critical as they are vital micronutrients for animals and plants. They participate in various metabolic pathways, perform basic activities in plants and are directly related to photosynthesis, biogenesis and energy transfer.

The importance of plants and plant extracts

corn (Zea mays) is the world’s third most widely grown cereal, leaving only rice and wheat. This grain is essential in the global economy as it is grown in almost every farm and requires a lot of work in the countryside to produce. As a result, research is being conducted to improve its products through the use of cutting-edge technology.

Apart from that, eucalyptus is an exciting natural resource due to its wide availability and ability to reduce and stabilize the generated nanoparticles. The harvest of eucalyptus leaves contains various chemicals of importance for this preparation. Eucalyptus Robusta (ER) has several compounds in its essential oil, which are found in the leaves, which may be involved in creating nanoparticles. The use of eucalyptus essence in the creation of silver nanoparticles for antibacterial activity, iron nanoparticles for wastewater treatment and color degradation is quite extensive.

Research results

The researchers tried to create manganese-based nanomaterials for agricultural applications by using Eucalyptus Robusta and Corymbia citriodora as precursors and reducing agents. Experiments were performed with 14 samples. Experiment 11 (CC extract) gave the largest bulk with the largest concentration.

In the case of ER extraction, the largest mass obtained was obtained with the minimum concentration. The increase in mass seen with the increasing concentration of CC extract may be related to the existence of particles of its essential oil, while the detrimental effect on the mass seen when the concentration of ER extract was increased can be attributed to a larger amount of proteins.

MnNPs produced from eucalyptus Robusta leaf extracts showed maxima resembling two crystal structures.

In the same way as the measured mass, the extraction gives significantly changed lattice parameters, where the ER extract has a beneficial effect and the CC extract has a detrimental effect.

The extract used to prepare the MnNPs severely affected the pore structure. The NPs made from the ER extract have a round shape.

Iron and manganese nanoparticles were tested in maize sprouts, with most tests using nanoparticles showing 100% of the average germination rate, while the controls showed 90%. those produced using Eucalyptus citriodora essence had a smaller leaf network mass than the majority of the other studies. This was also seen in the study of the weights of the root system.

In summary, a multifactorial project was made to functionalize manganese nanoparticles using two different varieties of eucalyptus (citriodora and robusta), with synthesis duration and extract percentage varied. The germination test revealed no statistically significant changes between the samples, indicating that MnNPs are not phytotoxic at the concentrations tested.

Continue reading: The effect of nano-fertilizer on sustainable crop development.

References

Gonçalves, JPZ et al., 2021. Green synthesis of manganese-based nanoparticles mediated by Eucalyptus robusta and Corymbia citriodora for agricultural applications. Colloids and surfaces A: Physico-chemical and technical aspects. 128180 Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0927775721020495

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