ZnO nanoparticles as potential fertilizer and biostimulant for lettuce

Heliyon. 2023 Jan 6;9(1):e12787. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2022.e12787. eCollection 2023 Jan.

ABSTRACT

Zn is an indispensable nutrient for crops that usually presents low bioavailability. Different techniques have been proposed to improve the bioavailability of Zn, including the use of nanofertilizers. The objective of the study was to evaluate the applications of drench (D) and foliar (F) ZnO nanoparticles (NZnO) compared to those of ionic Zn2+ (ZnSO4) in lettuce. The plants cv. Great Lakes 407 was produced in pots of 4 L with perlite-peat moss (1:1) under greenhouse conditions. The treatments consisted of NZnO applications that replaced the total Zn provided with a Steiner solution, as follows: Zn2+ (100%D) (control); Zn2+ (50%D+50%F); NZnO (100%D); NZnO (50%D+50%F); NZnO (75%D); NZnO (50%D); NZnO (75%F) and NZnO (50%F). Four applications of Zn were made with a frequency of 15 days. 75 days after transplant (DAP), the fresh and dry biomass, chlorophyll a, b, and β-carotene, phenolics, flavonoids, antioxidant capacity, vitamin C, glutathione, H2O2, total protein, and enzymatic activity of PAL, CAT, APX, and GPX were evaluated. The mineral concentrations (N, P, K, Ca, Mg, S, Cu, Fe, Mn, Mo, Zn, Ni, and Si) in the leaves and roots of plants were also determined. The results showed that, compared to Zn2+, NZnO promoted increases in biomass (14-52%), chlorophylls (32-69%), and antioxidant compounds such as phenolics, flavonoids, and vitamin C. The activity of enzymes like CAT and APX, as well as the foliar concentration of Ca, Mg, S, Fe, Mn, Zn, and Si increased with NZnO. A better response was found in the plants for most variables with foliar applications of NZnO equivalent to 50-75% of the total Zn2+ applied conventionally. These results demonstrate that total replacement of Zn2+ with NZnO is possible, promoting fertilizer efficiency and the nutraceutical quality of lettuce.

PMID:36647345 | PMC:PMC9840361 | DOI:10.1016/j.heliyon.2022.e12787

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