Research Highlight

Green nanoparticles boost growth of black gram plants

doi:10.1038/nindia.2018.172 Published online 24 December 2018

Using specific leaf extracts, researchers have synthesised zinc oxide and copper oxide nanoparticles that can be used to accelerate the growth of black gram plants1. Since the nanoparticles are made using leaf extracts, they are eco-friendly and potentially useful for increasing the yields of the black gram plants, which produce edible seeds.

Previous studies by other researchers have shown the potential of nanoparticles in increasing crop yields. Carbon nanotubes were used to improve germination of tomato seeds. Nanoparticles of silicon dioxide and titanium dioxide had been found to increase growth of soybean. However, most of the nanoparticles were made using toxic reagents.

To find a green way for making nanoparticles that can increase crop yields, scientists from the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in Coimbatore and the Sathyabama Institute of Science and Technology in Chennai, synthesised zinc oxide nanoparticles using coriander leaf extract and copper oxide nanoparticles using oleander leaf extract.    

They then tested the efficiency of the nanoparticles in boosting the overall growth of black gram seedlings in wet and dry conditions. 

They found that seeds soaked in water dispersed with zinc oxide nanoparticles and copper oxide nanoparticles for three hours recorded maximum germination and showed increases in length of root, shoot and seedlings. Even in dry conditions, the nanoparticles boosted the overall growth of black gram seeds and their seedlings.


1. Raja, K. et al. Biogenic ZnO and Cu nanoparticles to improve seed germination quality in black gram (Vigna mungo). Mater. Lett. 235, 64-67 (2019)