Seed World

Tomatoes Get Boost in Growth, Antioxidants from Nano-Sized Nutrients

This image from a transmission electron microcope represents the lifecycle of the nanonutrients used in tomato plants, from seed to plant to fruit.

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis are using nanoparticles to boost the nutrient content and growth of tomato plants.
Taking a clue from their work with solar cells, the team found that by using zinc oxide and titanium dioxide nanoparticles, the tomato plants better absorbed light and minerals, and the fruit had higher antioxidant content.
Zinc is an essential nutrient for plants, helps other enzymes function properly and is an ingredient in conventional fertilizer. Titanium is not an essential nutrient for plants, Raliya says, but boosts light absorption by increasing chlorophyll content in the leaves and promotes photosynthesis, properties the university’s lab discovered while creating solar cells.
The team used a very fine spray using novel aerosolization techniques to directly deposit the nanoparticles on the leaves of the plants for maximum uptake.
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