Using magnesium nanomaterial as a novel alternative to pesticides

ISHS Secretariat
Using magnesium nanomaterial as a novel alternative to pesticides

Ying-Yu Liao is a PhD student in Plant Pathology, University of Florida, USA. She completed her B.S. in Agricultural Chemistry from National Taiwan University, Taiwan R.O.C., in 2013, and attained her M.S. in Plant Pathology from the University of Florida in 2017. Her research projects are focused on: 1) evaluating novel management strategies using nano-materials and 2) the role of the Type VI secretion system in the tomato pathogen, Xanthomonas spp. Florida is the largest fresh market tomato producing-state in the U.S. and accounts for 36% of annual production. Bacterial spot disease, caused by Xanthomonas perforans, is one of the most critical bacterial diseases in fresh market tomato production. In Florida, there is no effective chemical control strategy because the emergence of copper-tolerant strains has rendered bactericides ineffective. To prevent extensive cost and maintain Florida’s tomato industry, successful disease management strategies for bacterial spot are crucial. In recent years, numerous studies have demonstrated the greater antibacterial properties of nanomaterials compared to their bulky counterparts. The reduced-sized particles have antibacterial activity toward some copper-tolerant bacterial strains. Ms. Liao presented “Using magnesium nanomaterial as novel alternative to plant disease management” at the VI International Symposium on Tomato Diseases. Magnesium (Mg) is an important plant micronutrient that is required for several enzymes and ribosomal activity. Over the past decade, micron-sized and nano-sized MgO (Nano-MgO) particles were shown to have antimicrobial activity against several mammalian pathogens. Nano-MgO (20 nm) was evaluated against a Cu-tolerant X. perforans strain in vitro and against tomato bacterial spot in the field. Based on preliminary findings, Nano-MgO may be an effective alternative to standard pesticide applications. This is the first study to test the efficacy of magnesium oxide nanomaterials against plant pathogens.

Ying-Yu Liao won an ISHS Young Minds Award for the best oral presentation at the VI International Symposium on Tomato Diseases in Chinese Taipei in May 2019.

Ying-Yu Liao, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Florida, 2550 Hull Road, PO Box 110680, Gainesville FL 32611, USA, e-mail:

The article is available in Chronica Horticulturae

tomato diseases
magnesium nanomaterial
Young Minds Award Winners