Copper may help reduce the use of antibiotics in crops

Researchers at Russia’s National University of Science and Technology MISIS, Voronezh State University of Forestry and Technologies, and Tambov State University discovered that copper oxide nanoparticles in the composition of a preparation to protect in-vitro-derived seedlings work as an immunostimulator in plants.

These findings have led the researchers to work on a new preparation that will increase the amount of harvested planting material.

In a paper published in the journal Nanomaterials, the scientists explain that modern methods of mass phytoproduction include obtaining planting material of woody plants by clonal micropropagation in vitro. This method of vegetative propagation makes it possible to obtain new plants, genetically identical to the original specimen, in a laboratory vessel or other controlled experimental environment rather than within a living organism or natural setting.

The technology, however, poses some challenges. As nutrient media for phyto-clones provide ideal conditions for microbial growth, new plants need to be created and maintained in complete sterility. Antibiotics are increasingly being used to reduce the risk of contamination in plants propagated in vitro.

But along with their bactericidal effect, antibiotics can also have a toxic effect on plant tissues and inhibit their growth and development. In addition, microorganisms can adapt to biocidal drugs by mutations, which lead to the resistance of phytopathogens.

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