Nanoscale Elements Suppress Plant Disease, Enhance Macronutrient Use Efficiency, and Increase Crop Yield

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The primary goal is to use nanoscale elements as an amendment strategy to suppress crop disease, improve nutritional content, and enhance yield. Soil pathogens significantly limit agricultural production, reducing crop yield by 10-20% and resulting in billions of dollars in annual losses. This shortfall in food production will worsen with a changing climate and an increasing population. Nanotechnology can play a critical role in maximizing global food production and achieving food security. Current approaches have focused on nano-enabled conventional agrichemicals, nanosensors, and waste treatment strategies. However, little is known about the effects of nanoparticle (NP) elements on disease suppression, macronutrient uptake, and crop growth. For example, micronutrients are pivotal in disease resistance through activation of defense barrier production and by affecting the systemic acquired resistance pathway. Unfortunately, element availability in soil is limited and foliarly applied micronutrients are not translocated to roots. Although NP intra plant translocation has been reported, there is no information on whether enhanced translocation of NP elements can deter root or shoot pathogens. Based on preliminary data, our central hypothesis is that NP nutrients can be used to strategically suppress disease, improve nutritional status and enhance crop growth and yield.
Macronutrients, Micronutrients, Agricultural productivity
White, J., C. Dimkpa, W. Elmer, and J. Gardea-Torresdey. 2019. “Nanoscale Elements Suppress Plant Disease, Enhance Macronutrient Use Efficiency, and Increase Crop Yield,” presented at the USDA/NIFA Nanotechnology for Agricultural and Food Systems Grantees Conference, Nashville, Tennessee, May 2019.