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Title: Absence of Nanoparticle-Induced Drought Tolerance in Nutrient Sufficient Wheat Seedlings
Strategies to reduce crop losses due to drought are needed as climate variability affects agricultural productivity. Wheat (Triticum aestivum var. Juniper) growth in a nutrient-sufficient, solid growth matrix containing varied doses of CuO, ZnO, and SiO2 nanoparticles (NPs) was used to evaluate NP mitigation of drought stress. NP amendments were at fertilizer levels, with maxima of 30 Cu, 20 Zn, and 200 Si (mg metal/kg matrix). Seeds of this drought-tolerant cultivar were inoculated with Pseudomonas chlororaphis O6 (PcO6) to provide a protective root microbiome. An 8 day drought imposed on 14 day-old wheat seedlings decreased shoot and root mass, shoot water content, and the quantum yield of photosystem II when compared to watered plants. PcO6 root colonization was not impaired by drought or NPs. A dose-dependent increase in the Cu, Zn, and Si from the NPs was observed from analysis of the rhizosphere solution, and this process was not affected by drought. Consequently, fertilizer concentrations of the NPs did not further improve drought tolerance in wheat seedlings under the growth conditions of adequate mineral nutrition and the presence of a beneficial microbiome. These findings suggest that potential NP benefits in promoting plant drought tolerance occur only under certain environmental conditions.  more » « less
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Environmental Science & Technology
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National Science Foundation
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