Enhancing the Mobilization of Native Phosphorus in the Mung Bean Rhizosphere Using ZnO Nanoparticles Synthesized by Soil Fungi

Phosphorus (P) is a limiting factor to plant growth and productivity in almost half of the world’s arable soil, and its uptake in plants is often constrained because of its low solubility in the soil. To avoid repeated and large quantity application of rock phosphate as a P fertilizer and enhance the availability of native P acquisition by the plant root surface, in this study a biosynthesized ZnO nanoparticle was used. Zn acts as a cofactor for P-solubilizing enzymes such as phosphatase and phytase, and nano ZnO increased their activity between 84 and 108%. The level of resultant P uptake in mung bean increased by 10.8%. In addition, biosynthesized ZnO also improves plant phenology such as stem height, root volume, and biochemical indicators such as leaf protein and chlorophyll contents. In the rhizosphere, increased chlorophyll content and root volume attract microbial populations that maintain soil biological health. ICP-MS results showed ZnO nanoparticles were distributed in all plant parts, including seeds. However, the concentration of Zn was within the limit of the dietary recommendation. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first holistic study focusing on native P mobilization using ZnO nanoparticles in the life cycle of mung bean plants.