There has been great interest in the use of carbon nano-materials (CNMs) in agriculture. However, the existing literature reveals mixed effects from CNM exposure on plants, ranging from enhanced crop yield to acute cytotoxicity and genetic alteration. These seemingly inconsistent research-outcomes, taken with the current technological limitations for in situ CNM detection, present significant hurdles to the wide scale use of CNMs in agriculture. The objective of this review is to evaluate the current literature, including studies with both positive and negative effects of different CNMs (e.g., carbon nano-tubes, fullerenes, carbon nanoparticles, and carbon nano-horns, among others) on terrestrial plants and associated soil-dwelling microbes. The effects of CNMs on the uptake of various co-contaminants will also be discussed. Last, we highlight critical knowledge gaps, including the need for more soil-based investigations under environmentally relevant conditions. In addition, efforts need to be focused on better understanding of the underlying mechanism of CNM-plant interactions.
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