Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Nanomaterials in plant protection products and fertilisers

02.11.2012
Myth or soon a reality?

The use of nanomaterials in agriculture could, on the one hand, reduce cost and effort, increase efficiency and lead to more environmentally sound applications. On the other hand, it might also have a negative effect on microorganisms in the soil. This is concluded by the authors of a review article written within the scope of the National Research Programme "Opportunities and Risks of Nanomaterials" (NRP 64).

Although no plant protection products or fertilisers containing nanomaterials are available on the market as yet, nanomaterials are becoming an increasingly important issue in agriculture, particularly as additives or agents in fertilisers or plant protection products: The number of scientific publications and patents on nanomaterials in this area has increased exponentially since the turn of the millennium, according to a review article recently published by researchers from the Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon Research Station and the Federal Office for Agriculture (*). With around 70 articles published until now, it is still possible for researchers to gain an overview of the topic. The USA and Germany are leading the field with regard to patents, but most of the scientific articles have been written in Asian countries.

Often outside the traditional nano range
Approximately 40 percent of the publications deal with carbon-based nanomaterials, followed by titanium dioxide, silver, silicagel and aluminium. Nanomaterials can be integrated into formulations in different forms and states – from solid particles through to polymers and emulsions. It is noticeable that the material development is often based on natural and degradable basic substances. The nanomaterials used are often larger than 100 nanometres and therefore by definition lie outside the classical nano range. In new plant protection products, in particular, the nanomaterials often serve as an additive that helps to release the agent in a controlled manner.
1000-fold higher flux into soils
The potential improvement of plant protection products and fertilisers through nanomaterials is offset by their significantly higher flux into soils if nanomaterials are used. Experts currently predict that this rate could be as much as 1000 times higher than the load released from the atmosphere. Hence, soil organisms and crops would also be more exposed to these substances.

Companies in Switzerland are already required to declare any nanomaterials contained in new plant protection products that they wish to register. However, international principles of nano-specific risk assessment are still at the development stage. As part of the National Research Programme "Opportunities and Risks of Nanomaterials" (NRP 64), the project NANOMICROPS (Effects of NANOparticles on beneficial soil MIcrobes and CROPS) is contributing to these efforts by developing ecotoxicological test systems for soil microorganisms and crops as well as making available analytical methods for quantifying nanomaterials in agriculturally significant environmental compartments such as soil and water.

(*) Alexander Gogos, Katja Knauer, and Thomas D. Bucheli (2012). Nanomaterials in Plant Protection and Fertilization: Current State, Foreseen Applications, and Research Priorities. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 60: 9781–9792

(available as a PDF from the SNSF; e-mail: com@snf.ch)

About NRP 64
The aim of the National Research Programme "Opportunities and Risks of Nanomaterials" (NRP 64) is to close research gaps so that the opportunities and risks of using nanomaterials can be more accurately assessed. The results of the 23 research projects will serve as a basis for the preparation of guidelines for the production, use and disposal of nanomaterials. This will support the development and application of safe technologies, optimise the benefits of using nanomaterials and minimise risk for humans and the environment. NRP 64 has a budget of CHF 12 million and will run until October 2016.

www.nfp64.ch

Contact
Thomas Bucheli (Principal Investigator)
Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon Research Station
Reckenholzstrasse 191
CH-8046 Zurich
Tel. 044 377 73 42
E-mail: thomas.bucheli@art.admin.ch
Mark Bächer (Head of Knowledge Transfer NRP 64)
Life Science Communication AG
Reitergasse 11
CH-8021 Zurich
Tel.: 043 266 88 50
E-mail: mark.baecher@lscom.ch

Abteilung Kommunikation | idw
Further information:
http://www.snf.ch
http://www.nfp64.ch/

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Ammonium nitrogen input increases the synthesis of anticarcinogenic compounds in broccoli
26.04.2017 | University of the Basque Country

nachricht New data unearths pesticide peril in beehives
21.04.2017 | Cornell University

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>