Nano pyrite driven root foraging increases production of the heavy feeders, viz., cauliflower, cabbage and tomato in nutrient deficient soil with no fertiliser application
Himanshi Jangir, Amarjeet Bhardwaj, Gaurav Srivastava and Mainak Das
Plant draws nutrition from soil and air, while former contributes minerals and water, the later provides carbon dioxide. Similar to early man, who wandered around, hunting for resources, roots 'forage' underneath into the soil for nutrients. Root foraging is a function of nutrient availability. Here, for the first time, we show, root foraging which is quantified by the root architecture, can be modulated by a brief nano pyrite (FeS2) intervention. A 3 h root treatment of plant saplings with a 100 μg ml−1 suspension of nano FeS2, followed by transplantation onto a fallow land with no fertiliser application, influences root architecture and yield of cabbage, cauliflower, and tomato. These 'heavy feeder' vegetables drawing significant nutrients from the soil, are grown and consumed globally. This root treatment strategy, if applied for 'heavy feeders', can contribute towards sustainable vegetable farming with reduced fertiliser input; thus helping the marginal farmers across the world.