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Application of Nanotechnology in Agriculture

Nanotechnology is described as materials and systems that work at a scale of less than 100 nanometers. Nanotechnology has gained a lot of interest over the years due to its numerous uses in various fields such as pharmaceuticals, electronics, food processing and agriculture.

Agriculture is the most notable industry that employs nanotechnology since it creates and provides raw materials for food production. The scarcity of natural resources (land, water, soil, etc.) and the world's population require agricultural development to be economically sustainable, profitable, ecologically friendly, and efficient. Nanotechnology may be used at all stages of the agricultural products as manufacturing, processing, storage, packaging, and transportation.

Nanotechnology in agriculture such as nanofertilizers and nanopesticides are used to control products and nutrients levels without decontaminating soils and waters, as well as protection against insect pests and microbial diseases. Metal oxide nanoparticles such as , CuO and ZnO have been extensively explored for their ability to protect plants from pathogen infestations.

Another study showed zinc oxide nanoparticles can operate as nanofertilizers, assisting photosynthesis by increasing availability of carbonic anhydrase to produce  at the carboxylation site in chloroplasts. Chhipa H. (2019) states that nanoparticles can promote seed germination by increasing seed water absorption capacity, promoting antioxidant activity, lowering hydrogen peroxide, and increasing enzymes.

Furthermore, nanosensors have also been created in agricultural sectors to detect chemicals substances such as pesticides, herbicides, and also pathogens in order to track crop diseases and growth. Copper nanoparticles, carbon nanotubes (CNT), gold nanoparticles, and silver nanoparticles are among the nanomaterials being researched for use as nanosensors. According to Prasad et al. (2017) study, Camilli et al. found that some CNT nano-sponges enhanced the absorption of the toxic organic solvent dichlorobenzene from water by roughly 3.5 times compared to CNT powder.

In general, using sulphur and iron-containing CNT nano-sponges improves the effectiveness of soaking up water pollutants such pesticides, fertilisers and oil. Another nanosensor, graphene may be used to identify pathogens in waste water and can be filtered so that it can be consumed as drinking water.

In conclusion, nanotechnology in agriculture has shown to be effective in promoting plant growth and crop production in a long-term manner. Even though nanotechnology has a lot of potential in agriculture, there are still an issue to improve, such as risk assessment. New technology should be implemented to focus on increasing agricultural output without decontaminating soils and waters, as well as not contributes to health risks.

 

References:

  1. Alaa Y. Ghidan and Tawfiq M. Al Antary (September 9th 2019). Applications of Nanotechnology in Agriculture, Applications of Nanobiotechnology, Margarita Stoytcheva and Roumen Zlatev, IntechOpen, DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.88390. Available from: https://www.intechopen.com/chapters/68970.
  2. Chhipa, H. (2019). Applications of nanotechnology in agriculture. Nanotechnology, 115–142. doi:10.1016/bs.mim.2019.01.002.
  3. DiMario, R. J., Clayton, H., Mukherjee, A., Ludwig, M., & Moroney, J. V. (2017). Plant carbonic anhydrases: Structures, locations, evolution, and physiological roles. Molecular Plant, 10(1), 30–46.
  4. Prasad, R., Bhattacharyya, A., & Nguyen, Q. D. (2017). Nanotechnology in Sustainable Agriculture: Recent Developments, Challenges, and Perspectives. Frontiers in microbiology, 8, 1014. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2017.01014.

 

Written by:

Siti Najihah Darahim, Internship Student, Nanomaterials Synthesis and Characterization Laboratory (NSCL), ION2 &
Dr. Ismayadi Ismail, Research Officer, Nanomaterials Synthesis and Characterization Laboratory (NSCL), ION2

Date of Input: 15/12/2021 | Updated: 29/12/2021 | roslina_ar

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