3 Biotech

, 8:193 | Cite as

The effect of chitosan–PMAA–NPK nanofertilizer on Pisum sativum plants

  • Noha S. KhalifaEmail author
  • Mohammed N. Hasaneen
Original Article


The use of chitosan (CS) as a carrier for slow fertilizer release is a novel trend. The potential effect of this system in agriculture is still debatable. Here, chitosan (CS) nanoparticles were obtained by polymerizing methacrylic acid (PMAA) for the entrapment of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium (NPK) nanoparticles (NP), each at a time to form CS–PMAA–NPK NPs complex. The impact of this complex was evaluated using garden pea (Pisum sativum var. Master B) plants. Five-day-old pea seedlings were treated through their root system with CS–PMAA–NPK NPs at concentrations of 1, 0.5, 0.25, 0.125 and 0.0625 of the stock solution (R) for 1, 2, 4 and 7 days. In general, CS–PMAA–NPK NP complex reduced root elongation rate and resulted in the accumulation of starch at the root tip in a dose-dependent manner within the treated plants. Interestingly, the lowest concentrations of 0.0625 and 0.125 R had induced mitotic cell division (MI = 22.45 ± 2.68 and 19.72 ± 3.48, respectively) compared with the control (MI = 9.09 ± 3.28). In addition, some of major proteins such as convicilin, vicilin and legumin β were upregulated in plants treated with these low concentrations too. However, all concentrations used exhibited genotoxic effect on DNA based on the comet assay data after 48 h of treatment. Thus, it is highly recommended to consider the negative effects of this carrier system on plants and environment that may arise due to its accumulation in the agricultural fields.


Nanochitosan–NPK Root elongation assay Comet assay Mitotic Index Protein electrophoresis 





Dimethyl sulfoxide




Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid


Low-melting agarose


Nitrogen phosphorous potassium




Phosphate buffer Saline


Polymerizing methacrylic acid


Phenylmethyl sulfonylfluoride


Stock solution


Sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis


Tris–acetic acid–EDTA



This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or non-profit sectors.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they do not have any conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Botany Department, Faculty of ScienceAin Shams UniversityCairoEgypt
  2. 2.Botany Department, Faculty of ScienceMansoura UniversityMansouraEgypt

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