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International Journal of Indigenous Medicinal Plants, ISSN: 2051-4263, Vol.46 Issue.

1286

Effect of magnetite Nano-Fertilizer on Growth


and yield of Ocimum basilicum L.
Souad A. Elfeky
Department of Laser Applications in Metrology, Photochemistry and agriculture National Institute of Laser Enhanced
Science (NILES), Cairo University, 12613
Department of Chemistry, University of Bath, Claverton down, BA2 7AY, United Kingdom

Mohammed A. Mohammed
Department of Laser Applications in Metrology, Photochemistry and agriculture National Institute of Laser Enhanced
Science (NILES), Cairo University, 12613

Mohammed S. Khater.
Department of Laser Applications in Metrology, Photochemistry and agriculture National Institute of Laser Enhanced
Science (NILES), Cairo University, 12613

Yasser A. H. Osman
Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Department, Desert Research Center (DRC), Egypt

Elsayed Elsherbini
Department of Laser Applications in Metrology, Photochemistry and agriculture National Institute of Laser
Enhanced Science (NILES), Cairo University, 12613
Corresponding author: E-mail: sae21@bath.ac.uk

ABSTRACT
This study was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of
an iron nanoparticle strategy on the yield of basil crops in
terms of plant growth, as well as levels of active essential
oil constituents. Iron (Fe3O4) nanoparticles (NPs) were
synthesized, and transmission electron micrography
revealed particle size of approximately 12.6 nm. Fe 3O4 NPs
were applied to basil plants by foliar spray or soil addition
at varying concentrations. Total chlorophyll, total
carbohydrate, essential oil levels, iron content, plant
height, branches/plant, leaves/plant, fresh weight and dry
weight were measured. In general, Fe3O4 NPs significantly
enhanced all measured traits, with foliar spray treatment
showing more effectiveness than soil addition. Statistical
analysis (t-test) showed significant differences among the
effects of the various concentrations of NPs on these traits.
Our results showed an inverse relationship between total
carbohydrate content and the percentage of essential oil in
leaves. Together these findings support the usefulness and
effectiveness in nanoparticle treatment of plants to enhance
growth and yield.

Keywords- Basil, yield, carbohydrate, chlorophyll,


nanoparticles, essential oil

1. INTRODUCTION
Basil (Ocimum basilicum L.), also known as French or
sweet basil, is a popular annual herb of the Lamiaceae (or
Labiatae) family grown as a perennial in warm tropical
climates Basil is a tropical species native to India and East
Africa (Hiltunen and Holm, 1999). Essential oils are
extracted from basil by steam distillation from the leaves
and flavoring tops, and used for food flavoring, dental and
oral products, fragrances and in traditional rituals and
medicines( Simon et al., 1990) .The essential oils have also
been shown to contain biologically active constituents with

insecticidal(Chang
et
al.,2009)
antimicrobial(
Rattanachaikunsopon and Phumkhachorn, 2010) and
antifungal ( Edris and Farrag, 2003 ) properties. These
properties can be attributed to predominant essential oil
constituents, such as methyl chavicol, eugenol linalool,
camphor, and methyl cinnamate( Venancio et al., 2011).
Two minor components, juvocimene I and II, have been
reported as potent juvenile hormone analogs ( Bowers and
Nishida, 1980) Several studies have reported these
essential oil components can be enhanced in some herbs
through iron foliar fertilization ( El-Sawi and Mohamed,
2002; Maurya, 1990 ; Subrahmanyam., et al 1992; Said., et
al 2009)
Nano-agriculture
involves
the
employment
of
nanoparticles in agriculture, with the particles imparting
specific beneficial effects to the crops (Srinivasulu et al.,
2011) The success of nanoparticles may be due to, a
greater density at reactive areas, or increased reactivity of
these areas on the particle surfaces. Nanotechnology is a
potential solution for increasing the value of agricultural
products and environmental problems. For example, with
the use of nanoparticles and nanopowders, researchers can
produce controlled or delayed release fertilizers (
Kottegoda., et al 2011). In addition, several studies have
shown that nanoparticles can have a beneficial effect on
seedling growth and development (Roghayyeh et al.,
2010).
Iron, a cofactor for approximately 140 enzymes (
Brittenham, 1994), plays an important role in the photosynthetic reactions and is one of the essential elements for
plant growth and development, including chlorophyll
synthesis, thylakoid synthesis and chloroplast development
( Bozorgi, 2012). Iron contributes to RNA synthesis and

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1287

improves the performance of photosystems ( Shehata et al.,


2012).

(15.5%) and potassium sulfate (52%) at 300, 250, and 50


kg/feddan, respectively.

Application of iron in low-iron soils can increase grain


yield in soybean ( Ghasemi et al., 2006). One of the first
researchers to demonstrate the effects of magnetic
nanoparticles in plants, showed an increase of chlorophyll
levels and photosynthesis rate in seven-day-old bean
seedlings following the addition of 0.1% magnetite-based
magnetic fluid in the culture medium ( Sala, 1999).

Sweet basil plants were harvested on two cutting dates: the


first cut in July and the second in August at the beginning
of flowering stage. Morphological characteristics (plant
height in cm, number of branches, number of leaves per
plant, and both fresh and dry weight of herb) were
recorded.

In this study, we applied the iron nanoparticle strategy to


examine possible improvement of the yield of basil crops.
We examined the effects of iron (Fe3O4) nanoparticles
(NPs) on the plant growth of sweet basil, as well as the
levels of the active constituents, with the aim of developing
a technical approach for the agricultural application of
economical nano materials.

2. MATERIALS AND METHODS


2.1 Synthesis
nanoparticles

of

Fe3O4

magnetic

The Fe3O4 magnetic nanoparticles were prepared by coprecipitation of Fe3+ and Fe2+ at a molar ratio of 3:2 with
aqueous ammonia (0.3 mol/L) as precipitating agent20.

2.2 Characterization
nanoparticles

of

Fe3O4

magnetic

The size and shape of Fe3O4 magnetic nanoparticles were


observed directly by transmission electron microscopy
(TEM) using an electron acceleration voltage of 60 kV.
The TEM samples were prepared by dropping a few drops
of the solution on a carbon-coated copper grid (Okenshoji
Co., Ltd., microgrid B)

2.3 Seed treatment


Ocimum basilicum seeds were treated before cultivation
with fungicides (Topsin M 70% w.p./vitavax 300% w.p.) at
2.5 g/kg. This treatment is generally used to prevent any
fungal damage during cultivation21.

2.4 Field cultivation


A total of 1500 Ocimum basilicum seeds were used for the
study. The seeds were divided into two main groups for
field cultivation according to the scheme 1.
2.4.1Scheme 1: Ocimum basilicum seeds groups used in
the study.
Ocimum basilicum seeds were first sown on foam trays (84
cells) on February 15th. The media for seed germination
contained peat moss: vermiculite (1:3 by volume). On
March 31st uniform seedlings of approximately 15 cm in
height were transplanted to an open field. The
experimental field was 4 m2 and contained 18 plants, with
30 cm between the plants. Three replicates were planted
using the same randomized block design. In this study,
fertilizer was uniformly applied to all experimental plots,
containing ammonium sulfate (20.5%), superphosphate

2.5 Determination of essential oil content


(basil essential oil extraction)
Oil was extracted from the plants by hydro distillation. A
laboratory distillation of essential oil from plant herb is
often necessary in order to evaluate the raw material to be
used in large-scale distillation. A sufficient quantity of the
plant (25 g) and water was added in a short neck round
bottom 250 mL flask. The proper essential oil trap and
condenser were attached to the flask, and water was added
to fill the trap. The flask was placed in an oil bath and
electrically heated to approximately 130C. The
temperature of the bath was adjusted so that a condensate
of about one drop per second was obtained. The distillation
was continued until collection of oil ceased (approximately
three hours). When the distillation was complete, the oil
was left undisturbed so that good separation was obtained.
The volume obtained was determined and the yield was
expressed as a volume/weight percentage, i.e., volume of
oil per 100 g of plant herb. The crude oil was dried over
pure anhydrous sodium sulfate (120150 g/L of oil). The
mixture was stored at 4oC and kept in closed bottles in the
dark to prevent light and oxygen exposure ( Lachowicz et
al., 1996).
A small volume (0.1 ml) of each oil sample (treated and
control) dissolved in ether and injected in G.C (gas
chromatography) and analytical gas chromatograph carried
out on a Hewlet-packard 5890 plus series. The used G.C.
equipped with a fused silica capillary column DP-5(30mm
0.25mm internal diameter, 0.1m film thickness).
Nitrogen used as the carrier gas with a flow rate of 2.0
ml/min. Air and hydrogen flow rates were 330 and 30
ml/min., respectively.
Column temperature initially kept at 70oC for 3 min, and
then gradually increased to 120oC at 5oC/min rate, held for
3 min, and rise from 120 to 200 oC at 7oC/min, held for 3
min then the maximum temperature maintained for a
further 10min before cooling.

2.6 Determination of carbohydrates


The percentage of carbohydrate content was determined by
3,5-dinitrosalicylic acid (DNS)( Zhang et al., 2012). A
mixture of 1 g dinitrosalicylic acid, 200 mg crystalline
phenol and 50 mg sodium sulfite in 100 mL 1% NaOH was
dissolved by stirring, and stored at 4C. Leaf samples (100
mg) were extracted with hot 80% ethanol two times (5 mL
each time). The supernatant was collected and evaporated
by incubating the sample in 80C water bath. Water (10
mL) was added to dissolve the sugars, and three samples
(each 3 mL) were aliquoted in three separate tubes,

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together with an additional 3 mL of water in each tube.


DNS reagent (3 mL) was added, and the samples were
heated in a boiling water bath for 5 min. With the contents
of the tubes still warm, 1 mL of 40% Rochelle salt solution
was added. After cooling, the intensity of the dark red
color absorption was read at a wavelength of 510 nm on a
spectrophotometer.

1288

3. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION


3.1Characterization
nanoparticles

of

magnetite

2.7 Measurement of chlorophyll content


Measurement of chlorophyll content was performed using
the SPAD-502 meter (Konica-Minolta,. Japan). The
instrument measures transmission of red light at 650 nm, at
which chlorophyll absorbs light, and transmission of
infrared light at 940 nm, at which no absorption occurs
(Hoel and Solhaug, 1989).

2.8 Determination of iron concentration


Ashed samples were dissolved in 0.1N HCl and the volume
were increased to 100 ml. This solution was used for the
quantitative determination of iron by atomic absorption
spectrophotometry (Thermo Jarrell Ash Model AA
SCAN1). All determinations were carried out with an airacetylene gas mixture at a rate of 5 L/min according to the
method described by (Reuter,1980).

2.9 leaf anatomy


Leaves and stem samples of Ocimum basilicum L. were
collected from the mature leaves (fourth node on the shoot
from the terminal end) during September 2011. The
specimens were taken from the leaf between mid vein and
the leaf margin and then fixed in formalin-acetic acidalcohol (FAA)) using 70% ethanol. The specimens were
gradually dehydrated in a tert-butyl alcohol (TBA) series
(Johansen, 1940) and embedded in paraffin wax (m.p. 56
C). Sections were cut on a rotary microtome at a thickness
of 8-10 m (Model RM2245, Leica Microsystems).
Paraffin was removed with xylol and slides were stained
with safranin FCF methanol and fast green, and then
mounted in Canada balsam (Johansen, 1940). The selected
sections were examined and photographed using a light
microscope (Model BX51;Olympus Optical).

2.10 Statistical analysis


All treatment experiments were repeated three times. The
main control seedlings were supplied only with distilled
water. Average values and standard deviations were
calculated; t-test was applied to assess the statistical
significance of the differences between the control and
magnetic nanoparticle treated plants using originPro.

Figure 1: TEM imaging of the prepared magnetite


nanoparticles
Figure.1,TEM imaging of the prepared magnetite
nanoparticles revealed a spherical shape of the particles,
with an average size of 12.62.0 nm (inset shows electron
diffraction pattern).
Physicochemical properties of Fe3O4 nanoparticles were
characterized via TEM imaging (Figure 1). The images of
the synthesized magnetite nanoparticles reveal a spherical
shape and an average particle size of 12.6.02.0 nm, with
multiple diffraction rings that are characteristic of
crystalline spherical Fe3O4 NPs (12 nm) (Zhang et al.,
2009). The 12.6 nm mean diameter of the nanoparticles
subsequently used on plants in this study suggests the
particles have the ability to pass through biomembranes.
Further, their superparamagnetic properties could locally
influence the transmembrane ion flows, thus imparting a
magnetic influence on the ion channels ( Rcuciu and
Emilia, 2009).

3.2 Measurement of chlorophyll content


Total chlorophyll
(SPAD)

Before measurements were taken, the instrument was


calibrated by measuring transmission with no leaf inside.
Thus, when a leaf is placed in the meter, a specific fraction
of red light is absorbed and the meter can calculate a
relative value [in Soil Plant Analysis Development (SPAD)
units], which indicates the amount of chlorophyll present
in the leaf. Several measurements are taken at different
points for accurate representation.

50

0
control 1 mg/L 2 mg/L 3 mg/L
NPs materials concentrations
Foliar Spray

Soil addition

Figure2. Effect of different concentrations of Fe3O4 NPs on


total chlorophyll (SPAD units) in Ocimum basilicum
through foliar spray and soil addition
Foliar treatment of basil with varying concentrations of
iron NPs (1, 2 and 3 mg/L) significantly increased the
chlorophyll content in the experimental plants. This
increase is undoubtedly a result of the function of iron as a

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stimulator of the activity of chlorophyll synthesis enzymes.


Studies indicate that iron functions in the synthesis of a
specific kind of RNA that in turn regulates chlorophyll
synthesis through a chain of unknown reactions ( Jia et
al.,2012).
Application of magnetic NPs at 3 mg/L had a marked
effect on total chlorophyll content compared to controls
with both foliar and soil treatments (42% magnetic NP
treated plants vs. 28.3% controls and 41% magnetic NP
treated plants vs. 28.3% controls, respectively). Notably,
this iron concentration is considered very low compared to
levels in general iron fertilizers (4 g/L)(Ebrahimian, 2011).
These results also show that foliar spray is more effective
in stimulating chlorophyll content than soil addition. This
may be due to the precipitation of Fe3O4 NPs in the leaves
after foliar spray as insoluble oxides forming complexes
with phytoferritin, an iron-binding protein found in leaves(
Bienfait and Der Mark, 1983). Consequently, low mobility
of iron after binding to phytoferritin in leaves leads to
higher contribution in chlorophyll synthesis by foliar spray
than soil addition.
We might say that water-based magnetic NPs addition by
foliar and soil addition represented an economic important
source of iron fertilization.

Total carbohydrate %

3.3 Measurement of total carbohydrate and


essential oil
40
20
0
control 1 mg/L 2 mg/L 3 mg/L
NPs materials concentrations
Foliar spray

Soil addition

Essential oil %

Figure3. Effect of different concentrations of Fe3O4 NPs on


total carbohydrate of Ocimum basilicum plant through
foliar spray and soil addition
2
1
0
control 1 mg/L 2 mg/L 3 mg/L
NPs materials concentrations
Foliar spray

Soil addition

Figure4. Effect of different concentrations of Fe3O4 NPs on


essential oil of Ocimum basilicum plant through foliar
spray and soil addition

1289

There was a positive relationship between the amount of


carbohydrate in sweet basil herbs and the percentage of
essential oil that can be distilled from these herbs. This is
because the oil production in plant cells starts from the
carbohydrate stock of these cells. Our finding agrees with
previous work( Dubey and Luthra,2003). The secretory
cells of the oil glands responsible for essential oil
biosynthesis from monoterpenes of primary carbohydrate
precursors( Markus ,2000).This means that any increase of
total plant carbohydrates will be utilized in the biosynthesis
of essential oil, consequently increasing the production of
essential oil. Our findings (Figures 3 and 4) showed that
plants treated with the highest iron NP concentration (3
mg/L) had the lowest total carbohydrate concentrations
(20.45% and 21.4%, for foliar and soil treatments,
respectively) and the highest essential oil content (1.9%
and 0.8%, respectively), due to consumption of
carbohydrate in the oil production process, which
confirmed our proposed relationship between carbohydrate
content and oil production.
In contrast to the hypothesis regarding foliar treatment
discussed above, the total carbohydrate content of foliar
treated plants (20.4%) was less than plants with soil
treatment (21.4%)(Figure 3). This could be explained in
view of the higher essential oil in case of foliar treatment
than the soil treatment (1.9% and 0.8%, respectively)
(Figure 4).
Results in Figures 3 and 4 show that at each concentration
of NPs, an increase in essential oil content paralleled a
corresponding decrease in total carbohydrate content.
Foliar spray treatment of Fe3O4 NPs resulted in an extreme
increase in essential oil yield compared to soil addition.
This may be due to the previously discussed increased
chlorophyll content from the iron NPs foliar spray. In the
case of foliar spray, this would result in a high
photosynthesis rate and consequently more production of
carbohydrate precursors for essential oil synthesis.
Our results are consistent with previous studies that
showed that iron foliar application improved growth and
essential oil content of sweet basil due to the important role
of iron in synthesis of chlorophyll and plant growth
regulators13.
Furthermore, in addition to its role in chlorophyll
synthesis, Fe3O4 NPs absorb light in the region 330450
nm( Markuset al., 2000). We speculate that after excitation
by sunlight, valence band holes and conduction band
electrons are generated on the surface of Fe3O4 NPs( Sun et
al., 2009). Electrons shuttling from NP conduction band
may be accepted by the first member of a chain of electron
carriers, ultimately reaching NADP + and reducing it to
NADPH, similar to electrons in Photosystem I. Holes may
be filled by stripping electrons from water, leaving a
hydrogen ion (H+) and molecular oxygen (O2), as catalyzed
by water dehydrogenase. The H+ then moves into the fluid
medium and the oxygen is released into the air. Together
this describes a mechanism by which Fe3O4 NPs can be
excited by sunlight similar to chlorophyll and perform
functions similar to Photosystem I in passing electrons to

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Therefore, photosynthesis enhanced by Fe3O4 NPs would


result in the formation of excess NADPH and consequent
production of more carbohydrate35. Thus, we propose a
model by which Fe3O4 NPs trap solar energy to form ATP
and NADPH (Light Phase) and then act as an energy
source to produce carbohydrates and other biomolecules
from carbon dioxide and water (Dark Phase).

3.4 Study the effect of Fe3O4 NPs treatment on


the anatomical structure of Ocimum
basilicum

Application of Fe3O4 NPs increased tissue iron contents to


levels two times higher than controls (3 ppm), as shown in
1500
Fe (ppm)

the chain of electron carriers while valence band holes


facilitate a similar outcome as water dehydrogenase in
splitting water molecules.

1290

1000
500
0
control 1 mg/L 2 mg/L 3 mg/L
NPs materials concentrations

Foliar spray

Soil addition

Figure 6: Effect of different concentrations of Fe3O4 NPs


on Fe content (ppm) of Ocimum basilicum L. plant
through foliar spray and soil addition
(a)

(b)

(c)

Figure 5: Ocimum basilicum L. leaf anatomy:


(a) control (b) foliar spray 3 mg (c) soil treatment 3 mg
(EP:Epidermis, P: Palisade, Sp: Spongy, as: Air spaces)
Figure 5 Ocimum basilicum leaf anatomy: (a) control, (b)
foliar spray, 3 mg, and (c) soil treatment, 3 mg.
(EP:
Epidermis. , P: Palisade. , Sp: Spongy. , as: Air spaces.)
As shown in Figure 5, the epidermis cells of the control
were similar in shape and size, while the epidermal cells of
the NP-treated leaves became larger in size and reached a
maximum size when 3 ppm Fe3O4 NPs foliar spray was
used (Fig. 5A and B). In addition, the thickness of
mesophyll tissue, which is specialized photosynthetic
tissue that contains chloroplasts in palisade and spongy
parenchyma tissue, was greater in Fe3O4-treated leaves
compared to control leaves. The leaf spray treatment was
also more effective than soil treatment (Fig. 5C), and the
air spaces were largest in foliar sprayed leaves. Therefore,
foliar spray was the most effective treatment, followed by
soil treatment, compared to control leaves. This finding
was clear based on the chlorophyll concentration, which
was higher in leaves receiving the foliar treatment
compared to soil treatment (Fig. 2).
This confirms that Fe3O4 NPs enhanced chlorophyll
synthesis and consequently enhanced photosynthesis,
essential oil content and plant growth.

Figure 6. Soil application of 1, 2 and 3 mg Fe3O4 NPs


significantly increased shoot iron concentrations by about
1.5-, 1.6- and 1.7-fold, respectively; however, foliar
application of the same concentration of Fe 3O4 NPs
increased levels by approximately 1.7-, 1.7- and 1.9-fold,
respectively, compared to controls. These results were in
close agreement to the findings of (Moosavi and
Ronaghi,2011), who reported that foliar application of iron
significantly increased shoot iron concentration and uptake
of dry bean to levels higher than those observed with soil
foliar application( Moosavi, 2011).
(Hyde et al., 1963), proposed that phytoferritin in leaves
represents an iron reserve used by developing plastids for
photosynthetic needs.(Barton, 1970) observed large
quantities of phytoferritin in chloroplasts, confirming
earlier evidence that chloroplasts are rich in iron, and
contain as much as 80% of the total iron in plants( Neish,
1993). Hence, the precipitation of iron reduces its
subsequent mobilization to the phloem for long-distance
translocation (Salaza, 1999).

3.6 Morphological characterization


Table 1: Fe3O4 NPs foliar and soil treatment effect on
morphological parameters

Treatment

Plant
height
(m)

No. of
Branches
(Branches
/plant)

No. of
Leaves
(Leaves/
plant)

Plant
Fresh
weight
(g)

Plant
Dry
weight
(g)

0.95

49

772

257.6

82.3

1.19
1.22
1.45

99
108.3
119

1134.3
1187.3
1272.6

509.6
534
640

162.8
173.5
204.5

0.93

42

735.3

259.6

84.1

1.12
1.13
1.17

75.6
79
85

1112.3
1142.3
1152.6

408
511
619.6

132.2
165.5
200.7

3.5 Measurement of iron content


Figure 6: Effect of different concentrations of Fe3O4 NPs
on Fe content (ppm) of Ocimum basilicum plant through
foliar spray and soil addition.

Spray
control
1mg/L
2mg/L
3mg/L
Soil
control
1mg/L
2mg/L
3mg/L

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The data presented in Table 1 showed that foliar and soil


application of Fe3O4 NPs on sweet basil plants
significantly increased plant height, number of leaves/plant
and number of branches/plant, especially at concentrations
of 3 mg/L. Fresh and dry weight of herb followed the same
trend. This may be due to the increase in chlorophyll and
carbohydrate synthesis (Said-Al Ahl and Abeer, 2010, Jia
et al 2012)

1291

Results presented in Table 1 show that foliar spray had an


observable effect compared to soil addition on all
measurements, except for dry matter weight, which was
higher in soil treatment than foliar spray. We speculate that
this could be due to the higher carbohydrate content in soil
treated plants compared to foliar spray treated plants as
discussed previously in figure 3.

3.7 Statistical Analysis

Table2.Statistical analysis (T test)

Treatments

SD

Foliar spray

Soil addition

Foliar spray

Soil addition

Foliar spray

Soil addition

37.75

36.90

6.36998

5.80632

0.00129

0.00105

22.58

23.30

1.54569

1.65529

8.81126E-5

9.83942E-5

1.085

0.55

0.75071

0.31091

0.06298

0.03842

1077.4

989.55

265.822

206.571

0.00392

0.00241

1.2866

1.14

0.14224

0.02646

0.00405

1.79494E-4

93.825

70.4

30.9804

19.3280

0.00903

0.00534

1091.50

1035.63

220.519

200.945

0.00219

0.00195

485.30

449.55

162.009

153.297

0.00931

0.00988

82.375

84.45

0.25

1.41539

7.70568E-9

1.29748E-6

M: mean, SD: standard deviation, P: P value

5: Plant height (c 2: Total Carbohydrate (%) 3: Essential oil (%) 4: Iron (ppm) 1: Total chlorophyll (%)
6: No of Branches (Branch/plant) 7:No of Leaves (Leaves/plant) 8:Plant Fresh weight (gm) 9: Plant Dry weight(gm)
The results presented in Table 2 are statistically significant,
with the exception of essential oil (foliar treatment
sample). These results suggest that the iron NPs in these
samples induced an extreme and unusual increase in the
essential oil of plants compared to the control.. This result
confirmed the accomplishment of our main objective of
this study in enhancing the production of basil oil.
Essential oil of basil is a good source of minerals and other
phytochemicals, which are biologically active substances
that have potential for various therapeutic applications (
Devesh et al,2012).

4. CONCLUSION
Fe3O4 nanoparticles had significant effects on the total
chlorophyll, total carbohydrate, essential oil content, iron
content, and plant growth characteristics (branches and
leaves number/plant, fresh and dry weight) of sweet basil.
The results of this work show strong evidence for the high
efficiency of this new nanofertilizer on plant growth
enhancement. These powerful and inexpensive NPs could
replace traditional methods of plant growth enhancement.
Further developments in nanotechnology in this sector
could have large-scale economic implications and multiple
benefits for consumers, producers, farmers, and the
ecosystem.

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