Home pagePress monitoringNanoparticles to immunize plants against heat stress

Nanoparticles to immunize plants against heat stress

Date: 17.8.2020 

Civil and Environmental Engineering's Greg Lowry and his team are creating nanoparticles (NP) and NP coatings that will revolutionize the agricultural industry. Already, his research has demonstrated that NPs that are coated with the right polymers can be applied to plant leaves with 99 percent uptake – orders of magnitude more efficient than current agrochemical delivery methods. Their NP's are also able to target specific plant structures with pinpoint accuracy.

Kredit: Carnegie Mellon University.Now, as the next step in the emerging field he's coined "plant therapeutics," Lowry and Chemical Engineering's Bob Tilton are working to "immunize" plants against some of the greatest stress factors in agriculture: drought and extreme heat. In their recent paper in ACS Nano, they've detailed the first ever demonstration of a temperature-programmed release of a model antimicrobial agent within a plant.

"Prolonged high temperatures can induce stress in crop plants," says Tilton. "Our materials are designed so they can bind heat stress relief agents and release them inside the plant on demand when it becomes very hot."

The team sprayed the NP's onto tomato leaves, observing similarly high absorption rates to those in Lowry's prior research, which then circulated throughout the entire plant over the next three days. The programmed release properties then became active once temperatures within the plant reached 35-40 degrees Celsius, causing the NPs to release their cargo of CV throughout the plant's interior.




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