Nanotechnology in Agriculture

Definition: Nanotechnology is science, engineering, and technology conducted at the nanoscale, which is about 1 to 100 nanometers. Nanotechnology is the study and application of extremely small things and can be used across all the other science fields, such as chemistry, biology, physics, materials science, and engineering.

How small is Nano - small?

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The father of nanotechnology.000µm wide Physicist Richard Feynman.Compared to Human Hair A Human Hair is about 100. 2 .

Providing advanced instrumentation for precise. Plants grown in controlled environments (with optimal temperature. nanotechnology all will have massive impact on the ultimate success of the evolving global industries of agriculture and food. and potential toxicity of food products. 3   . specific. population movements and ecosystem changes. Nano Medicine.  Providing enabling instrumentation for global surveillance systems. water resources. growing food crops to feed the hungry and starving would no longer be a problem.Application of Nanotechnology is more wider at present daily science these are important applications: Nano Biology. land use. Nanotechnology and Use of Natural Resources. fertilizers. CO2. over the long term. and computer modelling predictions for climate change. food packaging and handling materials. "Agriculture will increasingly provide the raw materials and energy needed to drive our transition to a sustainable world!" "Nanotechnology is also an important enabling technology that has the potential of accelerating our transition to sustainable bio-based industries!" Nanotechnology in Agriculture Applications: Nanoscience. and 'smart' materials that can improve the economics and productivity of agriculture and contribute to human nutrition. etc) can grow year round and produce an order of magnitude more food per acre than existing methods. Enabling fundamental research and invention. nutrients. aimed to create new fabrication processes. nanoengineering. Nanotechnology and Ecology. air. water. Nanotechnology in Agriculture. water. Nanotechnology in space science: Nanotechnology in Agriculture: With nanotechnology. cheap. fast analysis of the physical/chemical constituents. Higher crop yields could be achieved by intensive green house agriculture. pesticides. sensitive. bio-mass. functional performance. and assessing environmental impacts. Nanoweapons. market projections. soils.

Nanotechnology is considered to play a significant role in major advances within the Agriculture. This argument suggests the imaginary of development and fear of lagging behind or being dominated by international forces. forming a threedimensional crystal. such as several abiotic and biotic stress factors. and products with higher efficacy are further required to mitigate the stress. have very high relevance and importance. This technique could be applied in improving important crops by organizing and linking carbohydrates.    4 . there would be a lattice-like structure that extends in six different directions. a breakthrough that unites biotechnology and nanotechnology. 7. product qualities. The intense problems confronting productivity in agriculture. require more precise and effective solutions. A UN survey on potential applications of nanotechnology in developing countries identified agriculture productivity enhancement as the second most critical area of application for attaining the Millenium Development Goals of eradicating hunger and malnutrition. Agriculture is the backbone of the developing countries. Training and research in nanotechnology. 2. Thus. The applications of nanotechnology are not only limited to farm production level. 5. The DNA crystals have “sticky-ends” or small cohesive sequences that can attach to another molecule in an organized fashion. 6.Importance of Nanotechnology in Agriculture: 1. therefore. but be extended across all links of the agricultural value chain to increase agricultural productivities. When multiple helices are attached through single-stranded sticky ends. with more than 60% of their population relying for their livelihood on this sector. Technology and Medical sectors in the 21st century. It can contribute to the development of improved systems for monitoring environmental conditions and delivering nutrients or appropriate pesticides and thus potentially enhance yields or nutritional values. Nanotechnology can improve our understanding and also deliver better products. consumer acceptance and resource use efficiencies 8. 3. Nanotechnology for Crop Biotechnology  Chemists have successfully crafted three-dimensional molecular structures. lipids. For India it is also important that investments in nanotechnology are made to ensure that the National Agricultural Research System remains globally. They made DNA crystals by producing synthetic DNA sequences that can self-assemble into a series of three-dimensional triangle-like patterns. Energy. 4. proteins and nucleic acids to these crystals. nanotechnology can be an important part of the future agriculture. food systems and industry.

Nanoparticles and Recycling Agricultural Waste  Nanotechnology is also applied to prevent waste in agriculture. Ethanol production from maize feed stocks has increased the global price of maize in the past two years. This technique has been applied to introduce DNA successfully to tobacco and corn plants.   Nanocapsules can enable effective penetration of herbicides through cuticles and tissues.   Nanobarcodes and Nanoprocessing could also be used to monitor the quality of agricultural produce. 5 . mass production of nanosilica through nanotechnology can alleviate the growing rice husk disposal concern. efficient. Cellulosic feedstocks are now regarded as a viable option for biofuels production and nanotechnology can also enhance the performance of enzymes used in the conversion of cellulose into ethanol. a large amount of highquality nanosilica is produced which can be further utilized in making other materials such as glass and concrete. a rice-milling by product can be used as a source of renewable energy. without any toxic side or after effects. some of the cellulose or the fibers are discarded as waste or used for low-value products such as cotton balls. yarns and cotton batting. The coating triggers the plant to take the particles through the cell walls. "Nanoencapsulated slow release fertilizers have also become a trend to save fertilizer consumption and to minimize environmental pollution". rapid and easy decoding and detection of diseases. When rice husk is burned into thermal energy or bio fuel. When cotton is processed into fabric or garment. Scientists are working on nano-engineered enzymes that will allow simple and cost-effective conversion of cellulose from waste plant parts into ethanol. particularly in the cotton industry. allowing slow and constant release of the active substances. Scientists at Cornell University used the concept of grocery barcodes for cheap. Since there is a continuous source of rice husk.        "Nanosensors dispersed in the field can also detect the presence of plant viruses and the level of soil nutrients". scientists produce 100 nanometer-diameter fibers that can be used as a fertilizer or pesticide absorbent. MSNs are chemically coated and serve as containers for the genes delivered into the plants. With the use of newly-developed solvents and a technique called electro spinning. 3-nm Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticle (MSN) in delivering DNA and chemicals into isolated plant cells. where the genes are inserted and activated in a precise and controlled manner. Rice husk.

   They produced microscopic probes or nanobarcodes that could tag multiple pathogens in a farm which can easily be detected using any fluorescent-based equipment. medical imaging. The impact of nanotechnology on health. However.site detector which can be used by non-trained individuals. wealth. active pesticidal (insecticide. issues of safety on health. The Impact of Nanotechnology  Nanotechnology is considered as one of the possible solutions to problems in food and agriculture.and nanoconditions in the field (temperature. humidity. the current degree of understanding of nanomaterial fate and effects in agricultural systems is poor. and lives of the people will be at least equal to the combined influences of microelectronics. nutrient status. In some cases.   "Nano-fertilizers often contain nutrients/growth promoters encapsulated in nanoscale polymers. and in some cases. as well as monitor local.S. pesticide levels…)" "Nano-pesticides often follow a similar model to nano-fertilizers. biodiversity. increased uptake/translocation. computer-aided engineering and man-made polymers developed in the 20th century. ensuring that they reach the intended destination and limiting their environmental impact. Department of Agriculture is expected to be completed towards the end of 2011. nanotechnology products such as anti-bacterial dressings. and environment along with appropriate regulation are raised on nanotechnology. chelates. Increased stability/solubility. targeted delivery (analogous to nano-based delivery in human disease research) Can result in lower required amounts of active ingredients" "Nano-emulsions can be used to contain pesticides and release them in a controlled fashion. the nanoparticle itself can stimulate growth "Nanosensors can be used to detect pathogens. or emulsions"   Slow. water availability. 6 . stainresistant fabrics. This on-going project generally aims to develop a portable on. The project. micro. in cooperation with the U. efficient release becomes possible. Just like biotechnology.…) ingredient associated with or within a nanoscale product or carrier". and suntan lotions have long been commercially available. However. targeted. fungicide." Important Points to Remember   Nanotechnology clearly has the potential to dramatically impact and improve agriculture. slow release.

Magnetic nanoparticles. It has been estimated that the per capita availability of water has reduced nearly 50% in the past 40 years. Nanobiotechnology  Nanobiotechnology has the potential to increase the efficiency and quality of agricultural production and food storage. fiber and agricultural commodities. gold nanoparticles tagged with short segments of DNA can be used for detection of sequence in a sample. more sensitive and more flexible when nano-particles are put to work as tags or labels.containing pesticide/fertilizer formulations. to enhance the safety of food supplies for the protection of consumers and producers and to introduce new functionality (value added products) for food. For example. Nanotechnology is a powerful tool to remediate aquatic and soil pollutants. are used to label specific molecules. Nanobiotechnology will pave ways for new researchable areas and applications such as DNA chip. Nanopore technology for analysis of nucleic acids converts strings of nucleotides directly into electronic signatures. or indirectly through the application of NM-containing bio solids. more work currently being done here. Very little known in the area of co-contaminant interactions but it appears that some nanoparticles may significantly alter co-contaminant fate. Nanotechnology could reduce acidic nature of the soil and attract earth warms to regain its fertility. Exposure on agricultural crops may occur directly through NM. Soil may minimize many of these co-contaminant interactions. Biological tests measuring the presence or activity of selelcted substances become quicker. bound to suitable antibody. not really supposed to happen. structures or microorganisms.     Nanotechnology for environmental safety     One of the major constraints in Indian agriculture is irrigation water and the availability is shrinking alarmingly. novel nucleic acid engineering based films. 7 . protein identification and manipulation. Lots of particle size-specific toxicity. smart delivery of DNA using gold nanoparticles.      It is possible that engineered nanomaterials may represent an emerging class of contaminants. Multicolor optical coding for biological assay has been achieved by embedding different sized quantum dots into polymeric microbeads. This necessitates for remediation of contaminated waters and to use them for agriculture besides domestic purposes. as well as spills.

nano-agri inputs (fertilizers. In TNAU. 300 crores (60 million USD). The SAU / ICAR institutes that have some expertise may take a lead role in offering training. New Delhi.    The scientists of Banaras Hindu University in India have devised a simple method to produce carbon nanotube fillters that efficiently remove micro to nano-scale contaminants from water and heavy hydrocarbons from petroleum. Nanotechnology. Nanobiotechnology and Electronics are required to gain insights into the exciting field besides transforming the processes into products quickly that flow into Indian agriculture. insecticides. Scope of Nanotechnology in Indian Agriculture "The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).        8 . Nano-agriculture is at the nascent stage and the agricultural scientists. nanopheromones for effective pest control. students and development officials have to be exposed through periodical training in the field of nano science and technology. Chemistry. The nanotechnology research and development activities require sophisticated equipment facility and thus ICAR bestowed interest to initiate a network of three national level nodal centers in order to cater to the needs and requirements of the scientists involved in nanotechnology research. In addition to the infrastructure. efforts are being undertaken to use FeO(Iron Oxide) nanoparticle to decontaminate soil and aquatic systems. herbicides.. as well as new techniques for wastewater management and water desalinization. Indeed. Magnetic nanoparticles offer an effective and reliable method to remove heavy metal contaminations from waste water by making use of magnetic separation technique. ICAR has given a task to CAZRI and TNAU to give training to scientists through NAIP Program.  The platform encompasses five major theme areas namely. Nanotechnolgy can introduce new methods for the treatments and purficiation of water from pollutants. Further. at least five faculties from basic sciences such as Physics. for the better function and upkeep of the laboratories at least 5 technicians are utmost essential. nano –based diagnostic kits for the detection of diseases. This is one of the major initiatives of Government of India to augment nanotechnology research in the sphere of agricultural sciences. nano-food systems (nano-packaging and encapsulation of functional foods) and biosafety and risk assessment with a budget outlay of Rs. growth hormones etc. has opened up an exclusive platform on “Applications of Nanotechnology in Agriculture” to be introduced in the current 12th five year plan (2012-2017)". pests and nutrient deficiencies.) for enhanced use efficiency.