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Nanotechnology based solutions for control of Agricultural pests

S Krishna Sundari, Rashi Prakash


Application of nanotechnology for the control of agricultural pests is an emerging field of research. It is driven by the realization that they are more effective and are equally competent in terms of their biocidal potential and that too at significantly low concentrations as compared to conventional pesticides. Unscrupulous application of larger volumes of chemical pesticides has many harmful effects including, acute toxicity to animals and human beings (up on accidental exposure), inefficient delivery methods leading to large residues in soil decreasing its fertility and emergence of resistance in target pests due to residual pesticides. Nanotechnology serves as an effective alternative by facilitating nano-encapsulation in which the active pesticide ingredient is sealed in a thin walled sac or a shell. Nanotechnology based approach not only improves the effectiveness greatly but also decrease the amount of pesticide input. Most leading chemical companies focus on formulation of nano scale particles for delivery through nano-encapsulation. Other nanotechnology based interventions are: use of nano materials like nano silica and nano silver that have strong inhibitory and disinfectant properties. Further, nano-formulations gets easily dissolved in water, more stable and the killing capacity of the pesticide optimized. Nano-particles are highly stable and biodegradable and hence can be successfully employed in the production of nanocapsules for efficient delivery of pesticides. Some nano-particle based bio pesticides used in controlled release formulation (CRF) are: nanospheres, nanogels and micelles. Such CRFs are being designed so that timely release can be linked to an environmental trigger. Carbon nanotubes (CNT) are the recent advancement in this field which have the capability of easy penetration into the hard coating of seeds and also support in growth enhancement. Nano scale carriers are another improvement in this filed and are deployed for efficient delivery of pesticides. It is observed that in the near future, nano structured catalysts would be available that will further increase the efficiency of pesticides. Thus this review focuses on the potential application of nanotechnology, in support of low chemical input agriculture while providing solutions for effective control of agricultural pests.

Keywords: Carbon Nanotubes, Controlled Release Formulation, Nanoencapsulation, Nanogels, Nanospheres

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