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Larger root nodules increased Fe, Mo, Mg, P, Ca, Mn, K in the roots and higher yield in chickpea grown from nano FeS2 pre-treated seeds: emulating nitrogenase


N2-fixing bacteria symbiotically dwell inside the root nodules of legume and converts atmospheric N2 to NH3. Unlike high temperature–pressure Haber’s process, this conversion in the nodule is orchestrated by nitrogenase: an enzyme with Fe-S, Fe-Mo, Fe-V cofactor, at its heart. Strategies to increase the nodule population could reduce nitrogen fertilizer use. Here we discovered that pre-treating the chickpea seeds with nano FeS2 (iron pyrite) resulted in a denser root network with larger root nodules. It improved the shoot system and resulted in a higher yield. We observed a higher concentration of Fe, Mo, Mg, P, Ca, Mn, K in the roots of chickpea: possibly emulating nitrogenase.

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Authors are thankful to Mr DD Pal for XPS, Mr A Tiwari for XRD facility, Mr Mitesh for FESEM, Ms V Singh for FTIR at Advance Centre for Material Science, IIT Kanpur; Prof A Singh for providing ICP-MS facility; Mr Satish Singh for providing Institute Nursery facility. HJ is supported by doctoral fellowship from MHRD, GOI and this work is an integral part of HJ’s doctoral thesis. The research work is part of the Scheme for Transformational and Advanced Research in Sciences (STARS), Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, 560012, India (MHRD, GOI) for the project 'Improving pulse (Chick pea and soybean) production and nitrogen content of the soil by nano iron pyrite seed treatment (626)' awarded to MD.

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Correspondence to Mainak Das.

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HJ, AB, and MD declare that there are no conflicts of interest.

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Jangir, H., Bhardwaj, A. & Das, M. Larger root nodules increased Fe, Mo, Mg, P, Ca, Mn, K in the roots and higher yield in chickpea grown from nano FeS2 pre-treated seeds: emulating nitrogenase. Appl Nanosci 10, 445–454 (2020).

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  • Nano iron pyrite
  • Legume
  • Chickpea
  • Nitrogenase
  • Rhizobium
  • Nano-agriculture