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 New research recovers nutrients from seafood process water
31.10.2018 | Chalmers University of Technology

nachricht Plant Hormone Makes Space Farming a Possibility
17.10.2018 | Universität Zürich

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: First diode for magnetic fields

Innsbruck quantum physicists have constructed a diode for magnetic fields and then tested it in the laboratory. The device, developed by the research groups led by the theorist Oriol Romero-Isart and the experimental physicist Gerhard Kirchmair, could open up a number of new applications.

Electric diodes are essential electronic components that conduct electricity in one direction but prevent conduction in the opposite one. They are found at the...

Im Focus: Nonstop Tranport of Cargo in Nanomachines

Max Planck researchers revel the nano-structure of molecular trains and the reason for smooth transport in cellular antennas.

Moving around, sensing the extracellular environment, and signaling to other cells are important for a cell to function properly. Responsible for those tasks...

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Optical Coherence Tomography: German-Japanese Research Alliance hosted Medical Imaging Conference

19.11.2018 | Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helping to Transport Proteins Inside the Cell

21.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Meta-surface corrects for chromatic aberrations across all kinds of lenses

21.11.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Removing toxic mercury from contaminated water

21.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>