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ARS Home » Southeast Area » New Orleans, Louisiana » Southern Regional Research Center » Commodity Utilization Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #325896

Research Project: Increasing the Value of Cottonseed

Location: Commodity Utilization Research

Title: Nanotechnology in Agriculture

Author
item Cheng, Huai
item Klasson, K Thomas
item Asakura, Tetsuo - Tokyo University Of Agriculture & Technology
item Wu, Qinglin - Louisiana State University

Submitted to: ACS Symposium Series
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/16/2016
Publication Date: 8/29/2016
Citation: Cheng, H.N., Klasson, K.T., Asakura, T., Wu, Q. 2016. Nanotechnology in Agriculture. In: Cheng, H.N., Doemeny, L., Gerace, C.L., Schmidt, D.G., editors. Nanotechnology: Delivering the Promise Volume 2. ACS Symposium Series, Washington, DC: American Chemical Society. p. 233-242.

Interpretive Summary: Nanotechnology is a promising new development that has stimulated a lot of new ideas and innovations. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the opportunities and challenges for the application of nanotechnology in agriculture. One of the goals of agricultural nanotechnology is to decrease the levels of active ingredients used in agrochemicals, optimize fertilizer use, and increase crop yield. For livestock, nanotechnology permits enhanced feed formulations, improved vaccines, diagnostics, and medications. The opportunities for post-harvest uses are plentiful and diverse; many of the applications are specialized and require detailed knowledge and expertise in the topics under consideration. Despite the rapid progress in R&D, the full potential of nanotechnology in agriculture remains to be seen as most of the technologies are not yet commercialized. Cost of production, safety, consumer acceptance, government regulations and intellectual property are the challenges to be overcome. This article hopefully provides useful information for newcomers who contemplate working in this area or for current workers who would like to follow the developments and to seek commercial opportunities where technology, market, regulatory constraints, and consumer interests can be aligned.

Technical Abstract: An overview is given of the application of nanotechnology to agriculture. This is an active field of R&D, where a large number of findings and innovations have been reported. For example, in soil management, applications reported include nanofertilizers, soil binders, water retention aids, and nutrient monitors. In plants, nanotechnology methods have been found to deliver DNA to plant cells, enhance nutrient absorption, detect plant pathogens, regulate plant hormones, and many other applications. In animal husbandry, nanocapsules have been devised to deliver vaccines and improve delivery of nutrients. Numerous postharvest applications have been reported, including the generation of nanocellulose from agriculture wastes, nanocomposites, silk, biochar, and nanosilver, among many others. It may be noted that most of the reported work in agricultural nanotechnology are in the developmental stages and not yet commercialized. Nonetheless, because of potential benefits, further progress in this field is expected in the future.