Reduced Graphene Oxide Nanosheet-Decorated Copper Oxide Nanoparticles: A Potent Antifungal Nanocomposite against Fusarium Root Rot and Wilt Diseases of Tomato and Pepper Plants
Mycology and Disease Survey Research Department, Plant Pathology Research Institute, Agricultural Research Center, Giza 12619, Egypt
Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular de Plantas (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas—Universitat Politècnica de València), Avenida de los Naranjos, 46022 Valencia, Spain
Nanotechnology & Advanced Nano-Materials Laboratory (NANML), Mycology and Disease Survey Research Department, Plant Pathology Research Institute, Agricultural Research Center, Giza 12619, Egypt
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nanomaterials 2020, 10(5), 1001; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10051001
Received: 6 May 2020 / Revised: 20 May 2020 / Accepted: 21 May 2020 / Published: 24 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Biology and Medicines)
Sustainable use of nanotechnology in crop protection requires an understanding of the plant’s life cycle, potential toxicological impacts of nanomaterials and their mechanism of action against the target pathogens. Herein, we show some properties of a candidate antifungal nanocomposite made from copper oxide (CuO; otherwise an essential soil nutrient) nanoparticles (NPs), with definite size and shape, decorating the surface of reduced graphene oxide (rGO) nanosheets. The successful preparation of the rGO-CuO NPs was confirmed by spectroscopic and microscopic analyses, and its antifungal activity against wild strains of Fusarium oxysporum affecting tomato and pepper plants was successfully confirmed. A comparative analysis in vitro indicated that this nanocomposite had higher antifungal activity at only 1 mg/L than the conventional fungicide Kocide 2000 at 2.5 g/L. Further investigation suggested that rGO-CuO NPs creates pits and pores on the fungal cell membranes inducing cell death. In planta results indicated that only 1 mg/L from the nanocomposite is required to reduce Fusarium wilt and root rot diseases severity below 5% for tomato and pepper plants without any phytotoxicity for about 70 days. Comparatively, 2.5 g/L of Kocide 2000 are required to achieve about 30% disease reduction in both plants. The present study contributes to the concept of agro-nanotechnology, showing the properties of a novel ecofriendly and economic nanopesticide for sustainable plant protection.