Acta Physiologiae Plantarum

, Volume 35, Issue 12, pp 3365–3375 | Cite as

Effect of γFe2O3 nanoparticles on photosynthetic characteristic of soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.): foliar spray versus soil amendment

  • Darioush Alidoust
  • Akihiro Isoda
Original Paper


There is an urgent need to address comprehensive biosafety issues associated with the use of Fe2O3 nanoparticles (IONPs). The present study was performed to investigate the effect of 6-nm IONPs and citrate-coated IONPs (IONPs-Cit) on photosynthetic characteristics and root elongation during germination of Glycine max (L) Merr. Plant physiological performance was assessed after foliar and soil IONPs fertilization. No adverse impacts at any growth stage of the soybeans were observed after application of IONPs. The Fe2O3 nanoparticles produced a significant positive effect on root elongation, particularly when compared to the bulk counterpart (IOBKs) suspensions of concentrations greater than 500 mg L−1. Furthermore, IONPs-Cit significantly enhanced photosynthetic parameters when sprayed foliarly at the eight-trifoliate leaf stage (P < 0.05). The increases in photosynthetic rates following spraying were attributed to increases in stomatal opening rather than increased CO2 uptake activity at the chloroplast level. We observed more pronounced positive effects of IONPs via foliar application than by soil treatment. This study concluded that IONPs coated with citric acid at IONPs to citrate molar ratio of 1:3 can markedly improve the effectiveness of insoluble iron oxide for Fe foliar fertilization.


Nano iron oxide Foliar amendment Photosynthetic characteristic Rhizosphere soil Soybean 



CO2 assimilation rate


Stomatal conductance


Intercellular CO2 concentration


Transpiration rate


Fe2O3 nanoparticles


Citrate-coated IONPs


Bulk Fe2O3


Citrate-coated IOBKs



The authors wish to thank Prof. Kazuyuki Inubushi of Chiba University for allowing the use of soil testing apparatus. We would also like to thank all three reviewers for their insightful comments, which contributed greatly to the manuscript overall quality and completeness.


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Copyright information

© Franciszek Górski Institute of Plant Physiology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Kraków 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental Horticulture, Division of Bioresource Science, Laboratory of Crop ScienceChiba UniversityMatsudoJapan

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