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Carbon Nanoparticles Functionalized with Carboxylic Acid Improved the Germination and Seedling Vigor

Md. Hossen Ali, Jean-Marie Sobze, Thu Huong Pham, Muhammad Nadeem*, Chen Liu, Lakshman Galagedara, Mumtaz Cheema and Raymond Thomas*

School of Science and the Environment, Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland, 20 University Drive, Corner Brook, NL A2H 5G4, Canada

Nanomaterials 2020, 10(1), 176;


Nanopriming has been shown to significantly improve seed germination and seedling vigor in several agricultural crops. However, this approach has not been applied to native upland boreal forest species with complex seed dormancy to improve propagation. Herein, we demonstrate the effectiveness of carbon nanoparticles functionalized with carboxylic acids in resolving seed dormancy and improved the propagation of two native upland boreal forest species. Seed priming with carbon nanoparticles functionalized with carboxylic acids followed by stratification were observed to be the most effective in improving germination to 90% in green alder (Alnus viridis L.) compared to 60% in the control. Conversely, a combination of carbon nanoparticles (CNPs), especially multiwall carbon nanoparticles functionalized with carboxylic acid (MWCNT–COOH), cold stratification, mechanical scarification and hormonal priming (gibberellic acid) was effective for buffaloberry seeds (Shepherdia canadensis L.). Both concentrations (20 µg and 40 µg) of MWCNT–COOH had a higher percent germination (90%) compared to all other treatments. Furthermore, we observed the improvement in germination, seedling vigor and resolution of both embryo and seed coat dormancy in upland boreal forest species appears to be associated with the remodeling of C18:3 enriched fatty acids in the following seed membrane lipid molecular species: PC18:1/18:3, PG16:1/18:3, PE18:3/18:2, and digalactosyldiacylglycerol (DGDG18:3/18:3). These findings suggest that nanopriming may be a useful approach to resolve seed dormancy issues and improve the seed germination in non-resource upland boreal forest species ideally suited for forest reclamation following resource mining.

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Keywords: carbon nanoparticles (CNPs); germination rate; membrane lipid; seed dormancy; seedling vigor

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