Biomimetic Mineralization for Smart Biostimulant Delivery and Crop Micronutrients Fortification

by Katya M. Aguilar Perez, Yagiz Alagoz, Batoul Maatouk, Jian You Wang, Lamis Berqdar, Somayah Qutub, Muhammad Jamil, Sara AlNasser, Nouf BinSaleh, Peiyu Lin, Lamyaa Almarwaey, Tadao Asami, Salim Al-Babili, Niveen M. Khashab
Year: 2023 DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.2c04506


Nano Lett. 2023, 23, 11, 4732–4740


Sustainable and precise fortification practices are necessary to ensure food security for the increasing human population. Precision agriculture aims to minimize the use of fertilizers and pesticides by developing smart materials for real-life agricultural practices. Here, we show that biomimetic mineralization can be efficiently employed to encapsulate and controllably release plant biostimulants (MiZax-3) to improve the quality and yield of capsicum (Capsicum annum) crops in field experiments. ZIF-8 encapsulation of MiZax-3 (MiZIFs) could significantly enhance its stability up to around 679 times (6p value = 0.0072) at field conditions. Our results demonstrate that the coordinating Zn ions and the MiZax-3 play a vital role in improving Zn content in the produced fruits by 2-fold, which is the first report of this nature on Zn content in fruits. We envision this platform as a starting point to investigate other biocompatible coordination-based platforms for micronutrient delivery in precision agriculture.