Photosynthesis and crop productivity are enhanced by glucose-functionalized carbon dots

Tom Swift, Daniel Fagan, David Benito-Alifonso, Stephen A Hill, Marian L Yallop, Tracy Lawson, Thomas A A Oliver, M C Galan*, Heather M Whitney*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)
142 Downloads (Pure)


From global food security to textile production and biofuels, the demands currently made on plant photosynthetic productivity will continue to increase. Enhancing photosynthesis using designer, green and sustainable materials offers an attractive alternative to current genetic-based strategies and promising work with nanomaterials has recently started to emerge. Here we describe in planta use of carbon-based nanoparticles produced by low-cost renewable routes that are bioavailable to
mature plants. Uptake of these functionalized nanoparticles directly from the soil improves photosynthesis and also increases crop production. We show for the first time that glucosefunctionalization enhances nanoparticle uptake, photoprotection and pigment production, unlocking enhanced yields. This is demonstrated in Triticum aestivum ‘Apogee’ (dwarf bread wheat) and results in an 18% increase in grain yield. This establishes the viability of a functional nanomaterial to augment photosynthesis as a route to increased crop productivity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNew Phytologist
Publication statusPublished - 19 Aug 2020


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