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Minerva Biotecnologica 2013 June;25(2):123-32


language: English

Nanoparticles in agricultural soils: their risks and benefits for seed germination

Haghighi M. 1, Pourkhaloee A. 2

1 Horticulture Department, College of Agriculture, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan, Iran; 2 Department of Horticultural Science, College of Agriculture, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran


Nanomaterials and nanotechnology have been widely applied in the world in the last decades and the agricultural sciences were no exception. When the dimensions of a material become very small, its physical and chemical properties can become very different from those of the same material in bulk form. Therefore, the manufacture and mass production of organic and inorganic nanoparticles may result in the discharge of amount of these materials into the environment. The fate and transport of nanoparticles in the environment and also the impacts of those materials on plants and soil microbial communities has not yet been fully characterized. Accumulation of nanoparticles in agricultural lands is accompanied by toxic effects on plants, especially seed germination and seedling growth. On the contrary, it has been shown that nanoparticles can positively affect plant cells and seed germination in the soils. Some nano-size materials like carbon nanotubes drastically affect plant cell wall and leads to easier plant seed germination. The beneficial effects of different nano-size metals on plant cells and seed germination has also been reported. These controversial findings require clarification in order to avoid confusion to the public. However, considering these positive and negative effects of nanoparticles, it is necessary to evaluate impact of nanoparticles on plant cells, especially seeds that grow in agricultural soils. It is possible to avoid culturing sensitive plants in these areas and replace them with plants that tolerate high concentrations of nanoparticles.

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