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Open AccessArticle

Nanoscale Zinc Oxide Particles for Improving the Physiological and Sanitary Quality of a Mexican Landrace of Red Maize

1
Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Autonomous University of Guerrero (UAGRO), Iguala de la Independencia, Guerrero 40010, Mexico
2
National Autonomous University of Mexico-Superior Studies Faculty at Cuautitlan (UNAM–FESC), Campus 4, Multidisciplinary Research Unit L14-Annex 1 (Materials Science and Technology), Cuautitlan Izcalli, State of Mexico 54714, Mexico
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Those authors contibuted equally to this work.
Nanomaterials 2018, 8(4), 247; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano8040247
Received: 15 March 2018 / Revised: 2 April 2018 / Accepted: 12 April 2018 / Published: 17 April 2018
In this research, quasi-spherical-shaped zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs) were synthesized by a simple cost-competitive aqueous precipitation method. The engineered NPs were characterized using several validation methodologies: UV–Vis spectroscopy, diffuse reflection UV–Vis, spectrofluorometry, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), nanoparticle tracking analysis (NTA), and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy with attenuated total reflection (ATR). A procedure was established to coat a landrace of red maize using gelatinized maize starch. Each maize seed was treated with 0.16 mg ZnO NPs (~7.7 × 109 particles). The standard germination (SG) and accelerated aging (AA) tests indicated that ZnO NP-treated maize seeds presented better physiological quality (higher percentage of normal seedlings) and sanitary quality (lower percentage of seeds contaminated by microorganisms) as compared to controls. The application of ZnO NPs also improved seedling vigor, correlated to shoot length, shoot diameter, root length, and number of secondary roots. Furthermore, shoots and roots of the ZnO NP-treated maize seeds showed a marked increment in the main active FTIR band areas, most notably for the vibrations associated with peptide-protein, lipid, lignin, polysaccharide, hemicellulose, cellulose, and carbohydrate. From these results, it is concluded that ZnO NPs have potential for applications in peasant agriculture to improve the quality of small-scale farmers’ seeds and, as a result, preserve germplasm resources. View Full-Text
Keywords: ZnO nanoparticles; native maize seed; physiological and sanitary quality ZnO nanoparticles; native maize seed; physiological and sanitary quality
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MDPI and ACS Style

Estrada-Urbina, J.; Cruz-Alonso, A.; Santander-González, M.; Méndez-Albores, A.; Vázquez-Durán, A. Nanoscale Zinc Oxide Particles for Improving the Physiological and Sanitary Quality of a Mexican Landrace of Red Maize. Nanomaterials 2018, 8, 247.

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