Plant extract–mediated green silver nanoparticles: Efficacy as soil conditioner and plant growth promoter

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Research Article

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Journal of Hazardous Materials


Recently, concerns have been raised regarding the ultimate fate of silver nanoparticles (SNPs) after their release into the environment. In this study, the environmental feasibility of plant leaf (Thuja occidentalis) extract–mediated green SNPs (GSNPs) was assessed in terms of their effects on soil physicochemical properties and crop growth in comparison to conventionally synthesized silver nanoparticles (CSNPs). Upon application of GSNPs, soil pH shifted toward neutrality, and substantial increments were observed in water holding capacity (WHC), cation exchange capacity (CEC), and N/P availability. The mechanism behind the enhanced availability of N was verified through lab-scale experiments in which GSNP-treated soils efficiently resisted nitrate leaching, thereby sustaining N availability in root zone soil layers. However, retardation in nutrient availability and enzyme activity was apparent in soils treated with 100 mg kg−1 of either CSNPs or GSNPs. Remarkable improvements in leaf area index (LAI), leaf number, chlorophyll content, nitrate reductase (NR) activity, and Phaseolus vulgaris pod yield were observed after the application of low doses of GSNPs (25–50 mg kg−1). The true benefit of GSNP application to soil was substantiated through experiments on plant uptake of nutrients, NR expression, and ferredoxin gene expression in P. vulgaris leaves.

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