Nano Research

Article Title

Graphene oxide as a water transporter promoting germination of plants in soil


graphene oxide, plant growth, germination, water transporter


ABSTRACT Graphene oxide (GO) is a graphene derivative bearing various oxygen-containing functional groups attached to the basal plane and to the edges of the graphene lattice and hence has a unique structure in which numerous hydrophobic sp2 clusters are isolated within the hydrophilic sp3 C–O matrix. In this study, the hydrophilic nature and water-transporting properties of GO were exploited to promote germination and growth of plants. It was found that a low dose of GO significantly promoted the germination of spinach and chive in soil. The oxygen-containing functional groups of GO collected water, and the hydrophobic sp2 domains transported water to the seeds to accelerate the germination of plants. The strong interaction between GO and the surfaces of soil grains stabilized GO in the soil and prevented dissipation of GO. In addition, no GO was detected either on the surface or inside the cells of plants; this finding confirmed that GO was not phytotoxic. Therefore, GO may serve as a promising nontoxic additive to increase a plant yield.

Graphical Abstract


Tsinghua University Press