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Can early-stage detection of pathogens in plants be enlighted by luminescent nanoparticles?
* 1, 2, 3, 4 , 1 , 1 , 1 , 4 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 1
1  i3N, Departamento de Física, Universidade de Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
2  Associação SFCOLAB—Laboratório Colaborativo para a Inovação Digital na Agricultura, 2560-312 Torres Vedras, Portugal
3  i3N/CENIMAT, Department of Materials Science, Faculty of Science and Technology, NOVA University of Lisbon and CEMOP/UNINOVA, 2829-516 Caparica, Portugal
4  Unité Résistance Induite et Bioprotection des Plantes EA 4707 USC INRAE 1488, Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne, 51100 Reims, France
Academic Editor: Maria Martínez Mena

Published: 21 November 2023 by MDPI in 2nd International Online Conference on Agriculture session Poster Session.

Detecting and diagnosing plant diseases promptly is crucial for food security and effective crop management, especially when dealing with deadly pathogens that cause significant losses and economic damage1. Plant infections are estimated to contribute 20-40% to global production losses, annually2. Therefore, early detection of pathogens is critical, and nanotechnology-based sensing technologies offer promising solutions. Luminescent nanomaterials provide enhanced sensitivity and depth, making them valuable for bioimaging and real-time monitoring. In this study, we propose the development of functionalized luminescent silicate-based nanoparticles (NPs) using pulsed-laser ablation in liquid (PLAL) to target specific phytopathogens.

The objective is to create diagnostic nanoprobes capable of detecting Neofusicoccum parvum and Diplodia seriata, the phytopathogens responsible for grapevine trunk diseases. Hence, a spectral analysis of grapevine stems was conducted, including healthy and infected plants, as well as phytopathogen fungi cultures and growth medium (PDA). Results indicated that the materials’ emission should be within the 500-650 nm spectral range to avoid interference with chlorophyll absorption bands.

Mn2+-doped Zn2SiO4 ceramic targets were synthesized using solid-state reaction and solution combustion synthesis to optimize the photoluminescence (PL) intensity and afterglow, by investigating various factors, such as Mn2+ concentrations, H3BO3, and co-doping with lanthanide ions. Structural and optical characterization of the targets was performed using X-ray diffraction, Raman, and PL spectroscopies. NPs production through PLAL was studied, exploring different laser wavelengths, solvents, and other parameters. To ensure safety for plants and phytopathogens, toxicity assessments were conducted through foliar disc analysis and culture-based methods.

1Z. Li, T. Yu, R. Paul, J. Fan, Y. Yang, and Q. Wei, “Agricultural nanodiagnostics for plant diseases: Recent advances and challenges,” Nanoscale Adv., vol. 2, no. 8, pp. 3083–3094, 2020, doi: 10.1039/c9na00724e.

2FAO, “Climate change fans spread of pests and threatens plants and crops, new FAO study,” 2021. (accessed Feb. 23, 2022)

Keywords: Phytonanodiagnostic; Luminescent nanoparticles (LNPs); Laser processing; Early plant-disease diagnostic; Phytopathogens detection