Nitric oxide (NO) is a multifunctional gaseous signal that modulates the growth, development and stress tolerance of higher plants. NO donors have been used to boost plant endogenous NO levels and to activate NO-related responses, but this strategy is often hindered by the relative instability of donors. Alternatively, nanoscience offers a new, promising way to enhance NO delivery to plants, as NO-releasing nanomaterials (e.g., S-nitrosothiol-containing chitosan nanoparticles) have many beneficial physicochemical and biochemical properties compared to non-encapsulated NO donors. Nano NO donors are effective in increasing tissue NO levels and enhancing NO effects both in animal and human systems. The authors believe, and would like to emphasize, that new trends and technologies are essential for advancing plant NO research and nanotechnology may represent a breakthrough in traditional agriculture and environmental science. Herein, we aim to draw the attention of the scientific community to the potential of NO-releasing nanomaterials in both basic and applied plant research as alternatives to conventional NO donors, providing a brief overview of the current knowledge and identifying future research directions. We also express our opinion about the challenges for the application of nano NO donors, such as the environmental footprint and stakeholder’s acceptance of these materials.
- nitric oxide (NO)
- NO donor