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Nanofibrillation enhances the protective effect of crab shells against Fusarium wilt disease in tomato

Egusa, Mayumi, Parada, RoxanaYanira, Aklog, Yihun Fantahun, Ifuku, Shinsuke, Kaminaka, Hironori
International journal of biological macromolecules 2019 v.128 pp. 22-27
Fusarium wilt, calcium, chitin, crab shells, crabs, disease control, mechanical methods, nanofibers, plant growth, polymers, protective effect, purification methods, soil, sustainable agriculture, tomatoes, water solubility
Chitin, a polymer of N‑acetyl‑d‑glucosamine, is a beneficial material for agriculture because it enhances plant growth and disease control. Although chitin utilization is limited by handling difficulties, chitin nanofiber (CNF) can be more feasibly used since it behaves as a water-soluble material. To broaden the utilization of chitin, protein/CaCO3/chitin nanofiber (P/Ca/CNF) and protein/chitin nanofiber (P/CNF) complexes were prepared from crab shells without using environmentally hazardous chemical in chitin purification processes. Chitin was disintegrated into nanofibers by grinder pretreatment and the subsequent use of a high-pressure water jet system. The nanofibrillation degree depended on the number of mechanical treatments applied. The addition of CNFs to soil slightly enhanced tomato growth relative to that of CNF-untreated or crushed crab shell-treated plants. Furthermore, CNFs treatment reduced the incidence of Fusarium wilt disease in tomato plants. Disease inhibition by P/Ca/CNF and P/CNF was more effective than that by crushed crab shells, and comparable to that by pure CNF. There was no significant relationship between disease reduction level and nanofibrillation degree. In conclusion, P/Ca/CNF prepared with the minimal number of steps was sufficiently able to inhibit Fusarium wilt disease in tomato, and could thus be an eco-friendly material to control plant diseases in sustainable agriculture.