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Nitrogen-Doped Carbon Dots Increased Light Conversion and Electron Supply to Improve the Corn Photosystem and Yield

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journal contribution
posted on 23.07.2021, 13:35 by Chuanxi Wang, Hanyue Yang, Feiran Chen, Le Yue, Zhenyu Wang, Baoshan Xing
Fluorescent carbon dots (CDs) have been reported as an artificial antenna to amplify the harvesting ability of light and enhance photosynthesis in plants. However, the main mechanism of this promotive effect and contributions of CDs’ structure are unclear. Herein, CDs and nitrogen (N)-doped CDs (N-CDs) with blue fluorescence were synthesized, and they could promote photosynthesis and growth of corn at an application concentration of 50 mg·L–1 or lower, compared to the control. Foliar application of N-CDs (5 mg·L–1) on corn could increase the net photosynthesis rate (21.51%), carbohydrate content (66.43% in roots and 42.03% in shoots), fresh weight (24.03% in roots and 34.56% in shoots), and dry weight (72.30% in roots and 55.75% in shoots), which were much higher than those of CDs. Principal component analysis and density functional theory calculation demonstrated that, compared with undoped CDs, N doping enhanced the light conversion and electron supply via altering the structure of CDs, making N-CDs effective light conversion materials and electron donors to promote the photoelectron transfer rate. Furthermore, foliar application of N-CDs could increase the yield and 1000-grain weight by 24.50 and 15.03%, respectively. Therefore, the application of N-CDs could be a promising approach for increasing agricultural production.