Interactive effects of drought, organic fertilizer, and Zinc Oxide Nanoscale and Bulk Particles on Wheat Performance and Grain Nutrient Accumulation

Drought (40% field moisture capacity), organic fertilizer (O-F; 10%), and nano vs. bulk-ZnO particles (1.7 vs. 3.5 mg Zn/kg) were assessed in soil to determine their interactive effects on wheat performance and nutrient acquisition. Drought significantly reduced (6%) chlorophyll levels, whereas nano and bulk-ZnO alleviated some stress, thereby increasing (14-16%) 25 chlorophyll levels, compared to the control. O-F increased (29%) chlorophyll levels and counteracted Zn’s effect. Drought delayed (3-days) panicle emergence; O-F, nano and bulk-ZnO each accelerated (5-days) panicle emergence under drought, relative to the control and absence of O-F. Drought reduced (51%) grain yield, while O-F increased (130%) yield under drought. Grain yield was unaffected by Zn treatment under drought but increased (88%) under non drought condition with bulk-ZnO, relative to the control. Drought lowered (43%) shoot Zn uptake. Compared to the control, nano and bulk-ZnO increased (39 and 23%, respectively) shoot Zn in the absence of O-F, whereas O-F amendment enhanced (94%) shoot Zn. Drought increased (48%) grain Zn concentration; nano and bulk-ZnO increased (29 and 18%, respectively) grain Zn, relative to the control, and O-F increased (85%) grain Zn. Zn recovery efficiency was in the order O-F>nano-ZnO>bulk-ZnO, regardless of the water status. Grain Fe concentration was unaffected by drought, under which O-F significantly reduced grain Fe, and nano-ZnO significantly reduced grain Fe, in the absence of O-F. Nano and bulk-ZnO also significantly reduced grain Fe, with O-F amendment under drought. Drought can have dire consequences for food and nutrition security, with implications for human health. This study demonstrated that drought-induced effects in food crops can be partially or wholly alleviated by ZnO particles and Zn-rich O-F. Understanding the interactions of drought and potential mitigation strategies such as fertilization with Zn-rich organic manure and ZnO can increase options for sustaining food production and quality under adverse conditions.
Manures, Drought, Wheat, Organic fertilizers
Dimpka, C.O., J. Andrews, J. Sanabria, P.S. Bindraban, U. Singh, W.H. Elmer, J.L. Gardea-Torresdey, and J.C. White. 2020. “Interactive Effects of Drought, Organic Fertilizer, and Zinc Oxide Nanoscale and Bulk Particles on Wheat Performance and Grain Nutrient Accumulation,” Science of the Total Environment, 722:137808.