Hefei Institutes of Physical Science
Chinese Academy of Sciences
Research News
"Clothe" Wheat with A Nanocomposite to Control Sprouts
Date: 2018/09/05 Author: ZHANG Huilan

Chinese researchers developed a nanocomposite to "clothe" wheat so as to control its sprouts and thereby to promote its production.

This hydrophobic nanocomposite was made by Prof. WU Lifang's team in Institute of Technical Biology and Agriculture Engineering, Hefei Institutes of Physical Science and their work was published in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering.

In rainy season, wheat planting is always at risk of pre-harvest sprouting, or PHS. Scientists use the term PHS to describe the sprouts of seed before its harvest.

PHS is considered as one of the food security threats around the world for it negatively affects wheat quality and causes a series of physiological changes as well as lowers crop production.

WU's team managed to develop a hydrophobic nanocomposite to control PHS by modifying the structure of natural nanomaterial Pal.

The modified Pal possessed a hydrophobic surface which could prevent the adsorption of water and seed respiration.

The special nanocomposite was used as a nano net-membrane (NNM) to effectively inhibit the PHS. The NNM made the surface of the wheat seeds rougher and formed a hydrophobic nanomembrane on the surface of the wheat ears, effectively preventing the wheat seeds from adsorbing water and breathing.

This study provides a promising approach to prevent wheat PHS, which has potential value for application to wheat production.

This work was supported by the Science and Technology Service program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (KFJ-STS-ZDTP-002), the major special project of Anhui Province (16030701103), and the key program of the 13th five-year plan, CASHIPS (No. kp-2017-21).

Link to the paper: Controlling pre-harvest sprouting of wheat through nanonetworks

Schematic illustration of mechanism. (Image by ZHANG Huilan)



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