Reducing Nitrogen Dosage in Triticum durum Plants with Urea-Doped Nanofertilizers
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Ramírez-Rodríguez, G. B., Miguel-Rojas, C., Montanha, G. S., Carmona, F. J., Sasso, G. D., Sillero, J. C., ... & Delgado-López, J. M. (2020). Reducing Nitrogen Dosage in Triticum durum Plants with Urea-Doped Nanofertilizers. Nanomaterials, 10(6), 1043. [doi: 10.3390/nano10061043]
SponsorshipThis research was funded by Fondazione CARIPLO (project no. 2016-0648: Romancing the stone: size-controlled HYdroxyaPATItes for sustainable Agriculture–HYPATIA) and the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades (MCIU/AEI/FEDER) with the Projects NanoSmart (RYC-2016-21042) and NanoVIT (RTI-2018-095794-A-C22). GBRR also acknowledges the Spanish MICINN for her postdoctoral contract within the Juan de la Cierva Program (JdC-2017).
Nanotechnology is emerging as a very promising tool towards more efficient and sustainable practices in agriculture. In this work, we propose the use of non-toxic calcium phosphate nanoparticles doped with urea (U-ACP) for the fertilization of Triticum durum plants. U-ACP nanoparticles present very similar morphology, structure, and composition than the amorphous precursor of bone mineral, but contain a considerable amount of nitrogen as adsorbed urea (up to ca. 6 wt % urea). Tests on Triticum durum plants indicated that yields and quality of the crops treated with the nanoparticles at reduced nitrogen dosages (by 40%) were unaltered in comparison to positive control plants, which were given the minimum N dosages to obtain the highest values of yield and quality in fields. In addition, optical microscopy inspections showed that Alizarin Red S stained nanoparticles were able to penetrate through the epidermis of the roots or the stomata of the leaves. We observed that the uptake through the roots occurs much faster than through the leaves (1 h vs. 2 days, respectively). Our results highlight the potential of engineering nanoparticles to provide a considerable efficiency of nitrogen uptake by durum wheat and open the door to design more sustainable practices for the fertilization of wheat in fields.