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Nanotechnology in Agriculture and Food Systems

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- Overview

Nanotechnology is the science and engineering of tiny objects between 1 and 100 nanometers (a nanometer is a billionth of a meter). Researchers and farmers need nanotechnology, such as nanoscale biosensors and nanoparticles, to gain insight into and manipulate processes such as pathogen transmission. 

The occurrence and development of new pathogenic strains is an ongoing problem, and the use of chemicals to control pests is expensive and not always effective. In recent years, the use of nanomaterials has been considered as an alternative solution for the control of plant pathogens. Agricultural practice often involves the systemic application of various active compounds at different dosages and frequencies, which represent a variety of alternative options.

Innovations in nanotechnology help keep food safe and protect the public from pathogens in food, water and the environment. Agriculture and food system researchers are collaborating to develop nanotechnology that can be used to detect pathogens, develop vaccines, target drug delivery, create antimicrobial packaging, purify water, combat antimicrobial resistance and more.


- Nanoparticle-Based Sustainable Agriculture and Food Science

In recent years, nanotechnology has attracted a lot of attention due to its wide-ranging applications in various fields such as medicine, medical drugs, catalysis, energy and materials. These nanoparticles with small size to large surface area (1-100 nm) have a variety of potential functions. Today, sustainable agriculture is needed. The development of nanochemicals has emerged as promising agents for plant growth, fertilizers, and pesticides. 

In recent years, the use of nanomaterials has been considered as an alternative solution for controlling plant pests, including insects, fungi, and weeds. Several nanomaterials are used as antimicrobial agents in food packaging, among which several nanoparticles such as silver nanomaterials have attracted great interest. 

Many nanoparticles (Ag, Fe, Cu, Si, Al, Zn, ZnO, TiO2, CeO2, Al2O3, and carbon nanotubes) have been reported to have some adverse effects on plant growth in addition to their antimicrobial properties. In the food industry, nanoparticles are leading the way in forming food products with high quality and good nutritional value.

Scientists have made significant efforts on the synthesis of nanoparticles through different methods, including physical, chemical, and biological methods. These methods suffer from a number of disadvantages due to difficulties in scaling up the process, difficulty in isolating and purifying nanoparticles from microemulsions (oil, surfactant, co-surfactant, and aqueous phase), and consumption of large amounts of surfactants.



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