Discipline: Biological Sciences
Room: Marriott Balcony B
Karina Rosario Mendez - University of Puerto Rico-Aguadilla
More than forty million pounds of tomatoes are produced annually in Puerto Rico and approximately seventy percent is exported to the U.S. This means that the agricultural industry in the island would be significantly affected if pathogens such as the fungi Fusarium oxysporum were to spread in the Gargiulo Farm where these tomatoes are mostly produced. In order to develop an ecofriendly and cost-effective fungicide, we synthesized nanoparticles from algae and used the Kirby-Bauer method to determine their ability inhibiting fungal growth and algae extract as a control. When we compared the inhibition, halos generated by the nanoparticle solution, we found that silver nanoparticles were acting as a better growth inhibitor than gold nanoparticles. This could lead to the development of a new nanoparticle-based fungicide that could protect crops from this fungus and potentially save million of dollars in the agricultural industry. Further studies need to be performed in order to measure the effect of the metal nanoparticles in the crop and on the soil after short- and long-term exposure. It is also important to study the effect on the human body after consuming the impregnated tomatoes to see if they serve as a factor for the development of diseases.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): Funding was provided by USDA-ECaFSS Grant USDA 2016-38422-25541. Funding was also provided by PR-LSAMP.
Faculty Advisor: Yvonne Colon-Mena, email@example.com
Role: I made the experimental design, performed the tests on the laboratory and the statistical analysis.