Effects of Soil pH and Coatings on the Efficacy of Polymer coated ZnO Nanoparticulate fertilizers in Wheat (Triticum aestivum)

Zeinah Elhaj Baddar, Jason M. Unrine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


This study used ZnO nanoparticles (NPs) as seed treatments and as soil amendments to enhance Zn concentrations in wheat grain. In the seed treatment experiment, seeds were treated with dextran coated (DEX-ZnO) and bare ZnO NP suspensions, in addition to ZnSO4, at 500 mg Zn/L. In the soil amendment experiment, soil pH was adjusted to 6 and 8, then soils were spiked with 15 mg Zn/kg soil in the form of DEX-ZnO and bare ZnO NPs, as well as ZnSO4. For the seed treatment, ZnO NPs resulted in significantly higher grain Zn concentration 96.9 ± 25.4 compared to (72.2 ± 25.4), (78.3 ± 24.3), and (81.0 ± 19.4) mg Zn/kg in the control, ZnSO4, and DEX-ZnO NPs treatments, respectively. In the soil amendment experiment, grain Zn concentrations were the same across all Zn treatments regardless of soil pH. Plants grown at pH 6 had higher Zn accumulation and leaf and stem biomass compared to pH 8. This study demonstrates that treatment of seeds with ZnO NPs can enhance Zn content of grain using far less Zn than is typically used for soil amendments. This may help reduce the environmental impact of Zn fertilization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13532-13540
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 19 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank J. Grove, C. Matocha, M. Lovell, C. Chen, J. Li, S. Lichtenberg, S. Shrestha, O. Tsyusko, S. Curieses, J. Dantzer, T. Barton, A. Freytag, J. Connelly, and D. Van Sanford. This is a publication the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station. This work is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture under 1010358. Support was also provided by the National Science Foundation under CBET- 1530594.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Chemical Society. All rights reserved.


  • Zn malnutrition
  • ZnO nanoparticles
  • seeds
  • soil pH
  • wheat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry (all)
  • Environmental Chemistry


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