Application of Carbon Nanotubes as Growth Regulators/Enhancers of Biomass


Plant biologists in the pharmaceutical, agro-biotechnology and bioenergy industries are continually seeking compounds to significantly activate cell division in cultures of valuable plant cells. Existing compounds such as phytohormones are not always effective in the industrial scale. More effective methods or compounds are needed to stimulate plant tissue growth.


By using nanomaterials such as multiwall carbon nanotubes (MWCNT), researchers at UA Little Rock have found a new effective way to increase the yield of plant cell biomass. Researchers have observed that by adding low doses of carbon nanotubes to standard growth media, it affects the expression of a number of genes that are essential for cellular functions resulting in significantly higher yield of plant cell tissue growth when compared to existing growth regulators or activated carbon. As a result, carbon nanotubes can act as growth regulators/enhancers for plant cells.


  • Increase in overall production of plant cell biomass
  • Reduction in growth time
  • Low cost of suggested medium supplement


Sponsored Research

Related Publications:

ACS Nano, 2012, 6 (3), pp 2128–2135 DOI: 10.1021/nn204643g

About the Lead Researcher:

Dr. Mariya Khodakovskaya Mariya Khodakovskaya 2013

Areas of Expertise

  • Metabolic Engineering
  • Plant Transformation
  • Plant Tissue Culture
  • Nanobiotechnology
  • Plant Stress Signaling
  • Genetic engieering of ornamental plants

Over 30 publications, including published work in Science, PNAS, ACS Nano, Small etc.

Pending/Awarded Patent Applications

  • “Method and composition for increasing branching and flowering response in plants” (McAvoy, Khodakovskaya, Li)
  • “Method and composition for increasing plant survival and viability under cold and/or dark storage conditions” (McAvoy, Khodakovskaya, Li)
  • “Method of using carbon nanotubes to affect seed germination and plant growth“ (Khodakovskaya, Biris)
  • “Increase of stress tolerance in plants by silencing of gene of calcium-dependent lipid-binding protein with C2 domain” (Khodakovskaya)
  • “Activation of plant cell culture growth by introduction of carbon nanotubes in growth medium” (Khodakovskaya, Biris)