Nanoparticles boost crop yields

Nanoparticles can boost the growth of mung bean plants by increasing their nutrient uptake from soil, a new study finds1.

Because the nanoparticles are prepared using a soil fungus, this technique is safe and significantly increases soil phosphorous over the life cycle of the plant, from seed to harvest, according to the study.

Food crops such as mung bean use phosphorous to grow. If farmers continue to spread phosphorous fertilizers on crops at the current rate, the world’s phosphorous reserve will deplete in 80 years.

To devise an eco-friendly alternative, researchers turned their attention to zinc, an essential trace element known to boost the activities of enzymes such as phosphatases and phytase that convert soil phosphorous into a form that plants can absorb. read more

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