Fighting Crop Fungus with Eco-Friendly Nano-Silver

Greg Howard
20th March, 2024

Fighting Crop Fungus with Eco-Friendly Nano-Silver

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers used citron juice to create silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) that fight crop fungi
  • These AgNPs are stable, well-sized, and confirmed by various scientific analyses
  • The AgNPs showed strong antifungal effects, especially against Aspergillus niger
Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) have emerged as a promising tool in the fight against crop damage caused by fungal pathogens, a significant hurdle in achieving global food security and the 'Zero Hunger' goal. Researchers at Southern Federal University have developed a novel approach to creating AgNPs using the juice of Citrus medica L., commonly known as citron[1]. This study represents a step forward in sustainable agriculture, offering a potential eco-friendly solution to protect crops from destructive fungi. The study focused on the synthesis of AgNPs and their effectiveness in combating post-harvest fungal pathogens, which are responsible for considerable fruit losses worldwide. The process began with the extraction of citron fruit juice, which was then used to produce AgNPs. These particles were identified by a change in color and analyzed using UV-Vis spectrophotometry, a technique that measures light absorption. An absorbance peak at 487 nm confirmed the presence of AgNPs. Characterization of these nanoparticles was thorough. The zeta potential, a measure of the stability of colloidal systems, was recorded at -23.7 mV, suggesting that the particles would remain well-dispersed and stable over time. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy indicated that acidic groups capped the nanoparticles, while X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis revealed a face-centered cubic crystalline structure, typical for silver. Nanoparticle tracking analysis (NTA) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) showed that the AgNPs were spherical and averaged 20-30 nm in size, with a concentration of 2.4 × 10^8 particles per milliliter. The crux of the study was to evaluate these biogenic AgNPs against common post-harvest fungal pathogens: Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus flavus, and Alternaria alternata. These fungi not only reduce the quantity of the harvest but also its quality, as they can produce toxins dangerous to human health. The Cm-AgNPs displayed significant antifungal activity, with the greatest effect observed against A. niger, followed by A. flavus and A. alternata. This suggests that citron-derived AgNPs could be a potent tool in the inhibition of toxigenic fungi that spoil crops after harvest. This recent work builds on previous findings that highlight the broad-spectrum antimicrobial effects of AgNPs. For instance, earlier research[2] demonstrated that biogenic AgNPs synthesized using cyanobacterial cultures were effective against various bacterial pathogens that affect fruit crops. The current study extends these findings by showing that AgNPs can also be effective against fungal pathogens, thus widening the scope of AgNPs as a biocontrol agent. Additionally, the eco-friendly synthesis of AgNPs has been a subject of interest in prior studies. Research[3] using the leaf polysaccharide of Acalypha indica L. to create AgNPs showed that these particles have antimicrobial, antifungal, antioxidant, and even anticancer properties. Similarly, AgNPs synthesized using an actinobacterial strain from forest soil[4] exhibited remarkable antibacterial and anticancer activities. These studies collectively support the environmentally friendly and multifunctional capabilities of AgNPs, which the current study further corroborates by using fruit juice as a biological source for nanoparticle synthesis. In summary, the Southern Federal University's study presents an innovative and sustainable method to produce silver nanoparticles using citron juice, which could serve as a natural and effective antifungal agent for crop protection. This approach not only offers a potential solution to reduce crop losses and ensure food safety but also aligns with the broader trend of utilizing nanoparticles for their versatile applications in agriculture and beyond. The findings underscore the importance of continuing to explore the capabilities of AgNPs, especially as synthesized through green methods, to address global challenges in food security and crop management.



Main Study

1) Exploring sustainable management by using green nano-silver to combat three post-harvest pathogenic fungi in crops.

Published 19th March, 2024

Related Studies

2) Differential Antimicrobial Effect of Three-Sized Biogenic Silver Nanoparticles as Broad-Spectrum Antibacterial Agents against Plant Pathogens.

3) Biosynthesis and characterization of polysaccharide-capped silver nanoparticles from Acalypha indica L. and evaluation of their biological activities.

4) Novel Antibacterial, Cytotoxic and Catalytic Activities of Silver Nanoparticles Synthesized from Acidophilic Actinobacterial SL19 with Evidence for Protein as Coating Biomolecule.

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