Fusarium oxysporum is a common climate-persistent fungal disease that affects a wide range of hosts including tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and lettuce. Currently, the main methods of managing the disease are through biocontrolling agents such as fungicide, seed cleaning, and crop rotation. The most common of the three, fungicide use, brings about leaching issues when used in overabundance. This study is aimed at observing the applications of selenium nanoparticles, a trending technology in agriculture, to suppress Fusarium oxysporum on lettuce.
The study was broken up into two parts: a characterization of selenium nanoparticles and a greenhouse study. In characterizing the nanoparticles, hydrodynamic diameter and UV-vis spectra determined the size distribution of bare and Aloe vera coated selenium nanoparticles. It was found that aloe-coated selenium nanoparticles generally had higher absorbance than bare selenium nanoparticles. In the greenhouse study, aloe-coated selenium nanoparticles were applied to the leaf and roots of Fusarium oxysporum-infected lettuce. It was found that higher concentrations of the coated selenium nanoparticles, for both foliar and root applications, were more effective at retaining higher biomass and therefore were more effective at combatting Fusarium oxysporum.