Scientists Discover a New Way To Provide Plants the Nutrients They Need To Thrive

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have discovered a new method for delivering key nutrients to plant roots — without having to ensure they’re present in the soil where the plants are growing. This method, described by researchers in detail in a new academic paper, would manage to improve efficiency to nearly 100% absorption of nutrients and pesticides delivered as nanoparticles (particles smaller than 50 nanometers across — a human hair is about 75,000 nanometers wide, for context) sprayed onto the leaves of plants, which then make their way through the plant’s internal vascular system all the way down into the root system. Agricultural professionals could also use this method to greatly improve delivery of plant antibiotics, making it easier and more cost-effective to treat plant diseases affecting crop yields. “It would be cheaper to delivery all nutrients and pesticides, too, because the big bump in efficiency of uptake by the plants means you can use much less of anything you want to deliver to achieve your desired effect,” the report adds.

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