Corn crops benefit from carbon nanoparticles

Carbon nanoparticles (CNPs) have gained increased interest in agricultural production in the 21st century due to their excellent bioactivity, high conductivity, environmentally friendly manufacturing processes, and large-scale production. A recent publication in the Cleaner Production Journal focuses on the application of CNP as a foliar spray and soil drench to stimulate corn production and nutrient uptake.

​​​​​​​Study: Carbon nanoparticles improve maize (Zea mays L.) growth and soil quality: comparison of foliar spray and soil drench application. Image Credit: TEEREXZ/

Carbon nanoparticles (NPCs): the future of agricultural production

Inorganic fertilizers and agrochemicals, along with high-yielding crop varieties, dramatically improve global agricultural production. However, to meet the growing needs of a rapidly growing population, the global food supply must be increased by more than 70%.

Climate change is expected to significantly reduce maize yields by the end of the century. Therefore, the development of unique and environmentally friendly agricultural technologies is essential to increase crop yield and improve crop productivity.

Carbon nanomaterials (CNMs) offer new answers to various agricultural challenges, including increasing seed germination and plant development, improving stress resistance, controlling nutrient supply, detection of plant diseases and reduction of pesticide inputs. Carbon nanoparticles (CNPs) are among the most diverse CNMs, with promising effects on agricultural yield.

Limitations of previous studies on carbon nanoparticles (CNPs)

Despite increased interest in the use of CNPs in agriculture, studies on plant development and production are varied and often contradictory. Additionally, a lack of research into appropriate application techniques and how they affect plant development limits the improvement of CNP applications.

Past research on CNPs has mainly focused on comparing agronomic effectiveness with other CNMs, evaluating dose-dependent impacts of CNPs, and evaluating various plant species and genetic traits.

However, the relative benefits of CNPs on plant development and soil conditions under the same test conditions have rarely been examined, which limits the widespread use of CNPs in the agricultural sector.

Application of carbon nanoparticles for corn growth

The present study aimed to investigate the impact of CNPs administered by separate modes of administration (foliar spray and soil drench) on plant development and soil quality. Maize was selected for this research because it is a staple crop worldwide.

The researchers aimed to analyze the effectiveness of foliar spray and soil drench methods on plant development parameters and nutrient uptake, as well as responses of soil physical and chemical characteristics.

During the experiment, five identical maize plants were sown in each pot, and the sprouts were cut to two plants per week after germination. CNPs were delivered by foliar spray and soil drench at three separate treatment rates to find the best application technique.

Important Study Findings

In this research, the function of CNPs to encourage plant development was investigated by the foliar spray and soil drench method, and it was found that the benefits of CNPs vary with dosage and delivery technique. .

Foliar spraying and soil drench of CNPs significantly boosted plant development and nutrient uptake compared to the control (fertilizer only), indicating that CNPs may be a better alternative to fertilizers.

Selecting appropriate CNP application techniques is critical to increasing plant development while minimizing unnecessary expense and maximizing positive benefits.

CNP foliar spray 400 mg L-1 and soil soak at 200 mg kg-1 have been effective in improving agricultural production and soil integrity. The results indicated that CNPs impacted plant development parameters independent of application mode; however, the soil quality characteristics were mainly affected by the soil soaking method.

Perspectives and avenues for future research

The results of this study should contribute to the relative knowledge of NPCs to encourage plant development and soil integrity, as well as to clarify the best method of application for agricultural use.

It has been found, however, that various parameters such as plant characteristics, CNP properties, soil quality and experimental circumstances also influence the effectiveness of CNP in addition to CNP administration rates and methods.

Accordingly, future studies should explore further examination of CNPs in increasing plant development and nutrient uptake under varied soil conditions. Moreover, the mechanistic investigation of surface properties and the integration of CNPs with crops and soils are crucial for their future development and uses in the agricultural sector.


Xin, X. et al. (2022). Carbon nanoparticles improve maize (Zea mays L.) growth and soil quality: comparison of foliar spray and soil drench application. Cleaner Production Journal. Available at:

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