Nanomaterials for enhancing photosynthesis: interaction with plant photosystems and scope of nanobionics in agriculture
The complex process of photosynthesis requires precise arrangements of light harvesting molecules in the photosynthetic system. Artificial imitation of such reaction systems is difficult as they involve complex protein structures. Global population increase and the associated rise in demand for food have become a vital concern in the present and therefore it is essential to develop methods to improve agricultural yields, enhancing photosynthesis could be key to this. An approach is the use of self-assembling systems which are embedded into plants to enhance the activity of photo-functional pigments. This review discusses various nanoparticle mediated artificially embedded photosystems used to enhance photosynthesis. It also includes the mechanisms of interaction between nanoparticles and photosystem for enhancing photosynthesis due to the involvement of a light-harvesting function. The use of self-assembling systems to improve photosynthesis could increase productivity of plants, particularly in regions or seasons with low duration of sunlight. Plant nanobionics offers scope towards embedding nanostructures into plant systems and supplementing them with additional properties to enhance the efficiency of plants in terms of resistance to pathogens, adaptability to abiotic and biotic stresses, in addition to improving sunlight harnessing ability and energy conversion. This review also highlights the importance of functionalised nanoparticles with tunable structures to produce desirable properties. A mechanistic view of the nanoparticle interaction with plants will help us realise the potential and facilitate appropriate application of nanoparticles in plants for photosynthesis enhancement.