In agriculture, the utilization of nanomaterials has garnered significant global attention. This research adopts a pioneering approach to investigate the influence of nanosilica on the germination dynamics of sweetcorn seeds. The present study aimed to synthesize and analyze an amorphous nano-silica material using rice husk ash (RHA) and its impact on the germination of sweetcorn seeds (Zea mays L. sachharata). The extracted nano-silica particles dispersed into six rates of suspensions (0, 100, 200, 300, 400 and 500 ppm) were used to study their effects on seed germination. The synthesized amorphous nano-silica was determined for size, shape, and elemental content. The amorphous nature of the silica sample was confirmed by transmission electron microscopy-selected area electron diffraction (ED) patterns and X-ray diffraction (XRD), whereas siloxane and silanol groups were mainly detected by Fourier-transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy. Image obtained using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) revealed the presence of original nanoparticles alongside secondary microparticles, probably due to agglomeration. Particles in the extracted amorphous silica had an average diameter of 35 nm. Nano-silica powder was amorphous, according to XRD. As per the EDS analysis, the extracted silica sample is 96.87 % pure. The amorphous nano-silica significantly boosted germination metrics such as germination percentage, germination index, vigour index, and mean germination time of sweetcorn. With the addition of 300 ppm nano-silica, the germination percentage increased by 40.1%, the germination index by 96%, and the vigor index by 120% over control seeds. The improvement of seed germination by amorphous nano-silica in sweetcorn implies a potential application of nano-silica in seed germination.
Amorphous nano-silica, Synthesis, Rice husk ash, Seed germination, Sweetcorn
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