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Nanotechnology In Agriculture - Applications And Benefits

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The changing climate, urbanization, sustainable use of natural resources, and environmental difficulties are all significant challenges for global agriculture.

These issues are exacerbated by an alarming growth in food consumption, which will be required to feed an estimated 6-9 billion people by 2050.

Science and technology may provide prospective answers for developing nations to identify value addition in their present industrial systems.

Nanotechnology applications in agriculture have enormous promise since they can improve people's quality of life.

Nanotechnology aids agricultural output by enhancing input efficiency and reducing essential losses.

COPYRIGHT_WI: Published on https://washingtonindependent.com/ebv/nanotechnology-in-agriculture/ by Jaya Mckeown on 2022-08-30T00:26:00.145Z

Fertilizers and insecticides benefit from nanomaterials' high specific surface area.

However, we must exercise extreme caution when introducing new technology because of the unknown hazards that may arise due to its great potential.

It is also vital for a nation to train a future workforce in nanotechnology.

What Is Nanotechnology?

The study and use of very tiny objects is the focus of nanoscience and nanotechnology.

They apply to all other scientific subjects, including chemistry, biology, physics, materials science, and engineering.

Nanotechnology is the study of science, engineering, and technology at the nanoscale, which ranges from 1 to 100 nanometers.

It isn't easy to comprehend how little nanotechnology is.

If a marble were a nanometer, the Earth would be one meter in size.

The capacity to observe and manipulate individual atoms and molecules is at the heart of nanotechnology.

In the early 1980s, the microscopes required to observe objects at the nanoscale were created.

Although modern nanoscience and nanotechnology are relatively young, they have been used for millennia.

Use Of Nanotechnology In Agriculture

Nanotechnology in materials science and agricultural biomass conversion technologies provide food, feed, fiber, and fuels. Future food demand will be high, yet land, water, and soil fertility are limited.

Due to finite natural gas and petroleum supplies, the cost of manufacturing inputs like chemical fertilizers and pesticides will rise rapidly.

Precision farming reduces production costs and maximizes agricultural output to overcome these limits.

Nanotechnology advancements enable state-of-the-art precision agricultural methods that provide nanometer-scale control.

  • Nanoscale Carriers: It is possible to create nanoscale carriers that can attach plant roots to the organic materials and soil structure around them. These developments will aid in decreasing the absorption of active chemicals, hence lowering the number of inputs needed and the waste generated. Understanding the chemical and conformational interactions between the delivery nanoscale structure and the targeted structures and soil matter is necessary to achieve this.
  • Microfabricated Xylem Vessels: By developing nanofabrication and characterization techniques, we can now explore the physicochemical and biological interactions between plant cell bodies and numerous disease-causing organisms or pathogens. Specific procedures have enhanced the methods for treating these disorders by assisting us in better comprehending the underlying processes.
  • Nanolignocellulosic Materials: Recently, nanosized lignocellulosic materials were derived from crops and trees, opening up a new market for creative and value-added nano-sized materials and products, such as nano-sized cellulosic crystals utilized as lightweight reinforcement in the polymeric matrix. These may be used in food and another packaging, as well as construction and automobile body constructions. Michigan Biotechnology Incorporate (MBI) International has created cellulosic nano-whisker manufacturing technology from wheat straw, which is projected to produce biocomposites that might replace fiberglass and plastics in various applications, including automobile components. North Dakota State University (NDSU) is now working on a project to commercialize this technology.
  • Clay Nanotubes: Clay nanotubes (Halloysite) have been created as pesticide carriers for a cheap cost, prolonged release, and more significant interaction with plants, and they will cut the number of pesticides by 70-80%, lowering pesticide costs and the effect on water streams.
  • Photocatalysis: Photocatalysis, which includes the interaction of catalyst (nanoparticles) with chemical compounds under the influence of light, is a surgical procedure that uses nanoparticles. Pesticides and other resistant or slowly biodegradable substances may be remediated using nanoparticles. Additionally, since bacteria are injected with nanoparticles when they come into touch with them, they may be utilized to disinfect bacteria.
  • Nanobarcode technology: We can create new auto-ID technologies for tagging goods that were previously impractical to tag with conventional barcodes, thanks to nanobarcode technology. For multiplexed analyses of gene expression and intracellular histopathology, nanobarcodes have been utilized as ID tags. They have also been used for non-biological purposes, including monitoring or verifying agricultural, horticultural, and livestock goods.
  • Quantum Dots (QDs) for Staining Bacteria: Recent advances in the science of luminous nanocrystals have led to the discovery of fluorescent tagging by quantum dots (QDs) with bio-recognition molecules. QDs outperform traditional organic fluorophores (dyes) owing to their efficient luminescence, good photostability, symmetry, and tunability based on particle size and material composition. When observed under a fluorescent microscope, bio-labeled bacillus bacteria with nanoparticles of ZnS and Mn2+ capped with biocompatible 'chitosan' gave an orange glow. QDs were employed as a fluorescent marker in conjunction with immunological magnetic separation to identify E. coli O157:H7.
  • Biosensors: Microorganisms create a range of volatile substances that are both beneficial and hazardous to humans; for example, yeasts are used in fermentation, and alcohol is formed as a by-product when bacteria consume sugar. A foul odor indicates food is decaying. The human nose can detect and discriminate a wide range of scents, yet it may also be inconvenient and lead to poisoning.
  • Gold Nanoparticles: Commercially, gold nanoparticles are employed as quick testing arrays for pregnancy tests and biomolecule detectors. The color of these colloids is determined by particle size, shape, the refractive index of the surrounding medium, and particle separation. A minor change in these factors causes a detectable shift in the surface plasmon response (SPR) absorption peak.
  • Smart Dust: To generate dispersed intelligence in vineyards and orchards, we may use smart dust technology to monitor numerous factors such as temperature, humidity, and insect and disease infestation.
  • ZigBee, a Mesh Networking Standard: ZigBee is a low-cost, low-power mesh networking protocol. Smart Fields and SoilNet were created. It includes a signal conditioning block, a microprocessor/microcontroller with an external memory chip, and a radio module for wireless communication between sensor nodes and a base station. It may be used to identify and monitor pests, drought, and excessive moisture to counteract their negative impacts on crop output. Through this nanoscale-sensitive wireless sensor technology, we can regulate plant viruses and soil nutrients by changing plant surfaces with appropriate proteins. This technology is crucial for smart fields. Wireless network sensors can monitor mobile plant biotechnology conditions.

Nanotechnology in Sustainable Agriculture

Using Nanotechnology For Animal Agriculture And Health Care

Livestock, poultry, and aquaculture are all tied to agriculture and play a vital role in human nutrition now and in the future.

Animal production has several restrictions, including production efficiency, animal health, feed nutritional efficiency, illnesses including zoonoses, product quality and value, by-products and waste, and environmental footprints.

Nanotechnology has the potential to bring cutting-edge solutions to these problems.

  • Improving Animal Nutrition: Nanotechnology can increase nutritional profiles and efficiency. Animal diets in underdeveloped nations are often low in nutritional content. Nutrient supplementation is an effective method of increasing the efficiency of protein synthesis and micronutrient use in animals. Self-assembled and thermodynamically stable structures may be used to attain sustainability.
  • Zoonotic diseases: Diseases such as bovine mastitis, TB, respiratory illness complex, Johne's disease, avian influenza, and porcine influenza cause significant losses in animal productivity. Syndromes of reproduction and respiration Animal illnesses are estimated to account for one-fifth of animal production expenditures in the industrialized world and one-third in the developing world, according to the World Health Organization. Infectious illnesses have evolved in the previous thirty years, with 75 percent of them being zoonotic. Nanotechnology has the potential to deliver these methods, as well as to allow revolutionary improvements in this sector.
  • Improving Animal Reproduction: Low fertility results in higher financial input and less efficient livestock operations, making animal reproduction a significant concern for both emerging and industrialized nations. Numerous methods have been created to increase animal reproductive effectiveness, but nanotechnology-based delivery systems are among the most promising. Another technique for controlling animal hormone levels and revealing the best possible fertile window is to employ wirelessly transmitting nanotechnology-enabled implants.
  • Improving Quality, Value, and Safety Of Animal Products: Modification of animal feed improves not only animal production but also product value and quality, which helps produce animal-derived foods or products that are consistent with health recommendations and consumer perceptions, for example, milk fatty acids, cis-9, trans-11 conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), and vaccenic acid (VA). These medications assist in preventing chronic human disorders, including cancer and atherogenesis. Nanotechnology-based food delivery is helpful in effectively managing the production and concentration of CLA and VA in nursing ruminant milk fat. It also aids in investigating the biological advantages of functional meals with high CLA/VA contents and their association with human chronic illnesses by employing biomarkers and biomarker-induced release mechanisms. Furthermore, it has played a vital role in the cost-effective sequencing of the mammalian genome within 24 hours. If this technology becomes accessible within the next decade, biotechnology research and development developments will be significantly expedited.
  • Animal Waste Management: Animal waste is a severe hazard in the animal production business, and reckless disposal can only be avoided via strict environmental rules. It is also responsible for generating unpleasant scents, which hurt air quality and, as a result, living conditions and the real estate value of the surrounding region. When the value is added, animal manure might be utilized to produce high-quality organic fertilizer and improve environmental quality. Its bioconversion into energy and power may provide fresh income from renewable natural gas. Nanotechnology-based catalysts will play a significant role in electricity generation and storage in efficient and cost-effective bioconversion, which will be extremely useful in developing distributed energy sources, particularly in rural regions where infrastructure is absent. Such an approach might minimize the need for a large-scale power grid infrastructure, speed rural development, and boost productivity.

Use For Improving Shelf Life Of Agricultural Products

Most agricultural commodities are either perishable or semi-perishable (fresh vegetables, fruits, meats, eggs, milk and dairy products, many processed foods, nutraceuticals, and medications).

Nanotechnology research and development may aid in retaining freshness, quality, and safety.

Green Nanotechnology

Finding an economical, safe, and renewable energy source is critical for sustainable global development.

Green nanotechnology has been created to provide a flexible and efficient energy source in the form of solar cells, which has long been a goal of tropical nations. However, the usage of glass photovoltaic panels is both sensitive and costly.

Most developed nations have prioritized research into photovoltaic panels, energy storage, and other nanotechnology-enhanced solar-thermal energy conversion devices.

The economic feasibility of these photocatalysts and energy materials is crucial.

If we handle this element appropriately, we will be able to create more and more 'out-of-the-box' concepts. Jennings and Cliffel of Vanderbilt University achieved a significant technological advance when they investigated photosynthetic protein units generated from leafy vegetables and plants for direct conversion of solar energy to electricity, which has stayed functioning for approximately a year. The most costly component of this system is a glass microscope slide that acts as the cell basis.

Capturing solar energy will be a major accomplishment that will benefit mankind and will most likely continue and intensify in the coming years.

Nanotechnology may also convert biomass into fuels, chemical intermediates, specialty chemicals, and goods such as catalysts, lowering manufacturing costs while remaining economically viable.

These nanostructured catalysts have a vast surface area per unit volume and may have carefully regulated composition, structural functionalization, and other essential catalytic features.

Crop in field while hills are on back
Crop in field while hills are on back

People Also Ask

Can Nanotechnology Enhance Agricultural Productivity?

Nanotechnology has made significant contributions to sustainable agriculture by increasing crop yield and recovering and improving soil quality.

How Nanotechnology Can Be Used For Scaling Up Farm Productivity?

Nanotechnology aids agricultural output by enhancing input efficiency and reducing important losses.

Fertilizers and insecticides benefit from nanomaterials' increased specific surface area.

How Nanotechnology Is Applied In Food And Agriculture Industries?

For "sustainable intensification," nanotechnology has the ability to protect plants, monitor plant development, identify plant and animal illnesses, boost global food supply, improve food quality, and minimize waste.

Conclusion

Nanotechnology has enormous promise because of its applications in industries such as agriculture and the food system, which may improve people's quality of life.

It has become the future of any country all around the planet.

However, we must exercise extreme caution when introducing any new technology because of the unknown hazards that may arise due to its great potential.

However, a skilled future workforce in nanotechnology is equally crucial for a nation's future.

The first stage in this process is to educate the general population about its benefits, which will result in a great surge in interest and the discovery of new applications in all disciplines.

This review was created with this notion in mind. The future of nanotechnology is uncertain for a variety of reasons, including public opposition to genetically modified crops, a lack of many necessary skills in public agricultural research organizations for this type of research, and ill-equipped and somewhat hesitant regulatory structures to deal with with with these new technologies.

There is an urgent need to remove the severe barrier between the social and natural sciences. If we are successful in doing so, we may be able to construct a more desired and democratic sociotechnical future.

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About The Authors

Jaya Mckeown

Jaya Mckeown - Jaya moved to Boston from New York to pursue a master's degree in corporate communications at Emerson College. This experience, combined with her undergraduate degree in psychology and teaching, has equipped her with valuable skills that she employs on a daily basis in real estate negotiations, homebuyer and seller education, and successful promotion of the team's listings. Jaya's clients often characterize her as meticulous, proactive, and enjoyable to be around.

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