Creating Powerful Fungus-Fighting Nanoparticles from Mint Leaves

Jenn Hoskins
21st April, 2024

Creating Powerful Fungus-Fighting Nanoparticles from Mint Leaves

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Scientists in Kerman developed eco-friendly nanoparticles to fight plant diseases
  • Silver nanoparticles showed strong antifungal effects against certain plant pathogens
  • While effective, silver nanoparticles also displayed toxicity towards cancer cells, suggesting a need for careful use
In the realm of agriculture, plant diseases pose a significant problem, leading to reduced crop yields and economic losses. One such group of pathogens, the Botryosphaeriaceae family, has been particularly troublesome, affecting a wide range of plant species. Combatting these pathogens without harming the environment is a challenge that scientists at Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman have taken on[1]. Their innovative approach involves the use of metallic nanoparticles (MNPs), tiny particles with unique properties that can interact with and disrupt fungal cells. The recent study conducted by the researchers at Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman has made strides in developing an eco-friendly method to produce two types of MNPs: superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONPs) and silver nanoparticles (AgNPs). These particles were synthesized using leaf extract from the plant Satureja hortensis, which acts as a natural stabilizer and reducer, eliminating the need for harsh chemicals typically used in nanoparticle production. The team used a variety of techniques to confirm the successful creation of these MNPs. They measured the absorption of light by the particles using UV-visible spectroscopy, which showed distinct peaks indicating the presence of SPIONPs and AgNPs. The shape and size of the particles were determined using microscopic techniques, revealing spherical nanoparticles with average sizes of 10 and 12 nm for SPIONPs and AgNPs, respectively. These findings align with previous studies that have demonstrated the ability to synthesize nanoparticles with controlled sizes and shapes using biological methods[2][3][4]. The researchers' primary goal was to assess the antifungal effects of these MNPs against three types of Botryosphaeriaceae plant pathogens. The results were promising, as both SPIONPs and AgNPs exhibited antifungal properties. However, AgNPs showed greater efficacy in inhibiting fungal growth, which echoes the findings of earlier research indicating that silver nanoparticles can be potent antimicrobial agents[3][4][5]. In addition to their antifungal activity, the study also evaluated the cytotoxic effects of the MNPs on the MCF-7 cancer cell line. While SPIONPs displayed no significant toxic effects, AgNPs were found to be notably more cytotoxic. This suggests that while AgNPs could be a powerful tool against plant pathogens, their use must be carefully managed due to potential toxicity, a concern also highlighted in previous assessments of nanosilver toxicity[5]. The significance of this study lies in the potential application of these green-synthesized MNPs as alternatives to chemical fungicides. The use of such MNPs could help reduce the environmental impact of agriculture and improve food safety by minimizing the introduction of toxic substances into the ecosystem. By utilizing natural plant extracts for the synthesis of MNPs, this research contributes to a growing body of work that seeks to develop more sustainable and environmentally friendly agricultural practices. The ability of these MNPs to suppress fungal pathogens without causing significant harm to the environment could revolutionize how we protect crops from disease. In conclusion, the study from Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman provides an exciting glimpse into the future of plant disease management. The green synthesis of MNPs offers a dual benefit: it is not only effective against destructive plant pathogens but also aligns with the principles of green chemistry and sustainability. As the agricultural sector continues to seek solutions that are both effective and eco-friendly, the work being done here is a significant step forward in achieving those goals.

BiotechPlant ScienceSpices


Main Study

1) Green synthesis of Superparamagnetic Iron Oxide and Silver Nanoparticles in Satureja hortensis Leave Extract: Evaluation of Antifungal Effects on Botryosphaeriaceae Species.

Published 20th April, 2024

Journal: Current microbiology

Issue: Vol 81, Issue 6, Apr 2024

Related Studies

2) Catalytic potential of endophytes facilitates synthesis of biometallic zinc oxide nanoparticles for agricultural application.

3) Potential theranostics application of bio-synthesized silver nanoparticles (4-in-1 system).

4) Silver nanoparticles green synthesized with leaf extract of disease-resistant amaranthus genotypes effectively suppress leaf blight (Rhizoctonia solani Kühn) disease in a susceptible red amaranthus cultivar.

5) Mechanisms of Silver Nanoparticle Release, Transformation and Toxicity: A Critical Review of Current Knowledge and Recommendations for Future Studies and Applications.

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