WHAT IS NANOTECHNOLOGY?
“Nano” is the Greek word for dwarf. Things on the nanoscale are really small stuff – really, really, really small. These particles measure 1–100 nanometers. They are extremely tiny; it takes 10 million nanometers to make one centimeter. There are nanoscience and nanotechnology fields. This technology is hugely beneficial in many areas, such as in the development of electronics, fuel cells, medicine, textiles, aerospace, and agriculture.
WHAT IS NANOTECHNOLOGY IN FARMING?
In agriculture, nanotechnology can be defined as the manipulation of nanoparticles. These particles measure 1–100 nanometers. They are extremely tiny; it takes 10 million nanometers to make one centimeter. They can increase agricultural production and solve agricultural problems
HISTORY OF NANOTECHNOLOGY IN AGRICULTURE
People need food to eat. In addition, many poor countries earn a lot of their money from their agricultural production. Scientists are trying to increase food production by using nanotechnology. This will help feed the world and save farmers more money. (Research from Dove Press)
- In the old days, scientists couldn’t see very well with microscopes because they could only see things that were big.
- In 1981, scientists started to be able to see things that were small, like atoms. They did this with new microscopes.
- Nanotechnology has been used in many different fields, including agriculture. In the past few years, nanotechnology changed how food is grown, and it keeps getting better.
- Nanoparticles are tiny particles that you can’t see. Yet, these particles are in our food. They are used to make some foods safer and to make other foods easier to package.
BENEFITS OF NANOTECHNOLOGY IN AGRICULTURE
Nano is the Greek word for dwarf. It is really small stuff, like really really really small. There are nanoscience and nanotechnology fields. When this technology is used in agriculture or farming, it can have a huge benefit. (Research from US National Library of Medicine)
- Nanotechnology is a new and better way to get plants the nutrients they need. For example, we can use nanotechnology to make fertilizer that is easier for plants to use.
- Nano copper is a good fertilizer. It gives plants nutrition and protects them from disease. Nano nitrogen is another common fertilizer.
- Farmers can use nanotechnology to kill weeds without hurting the crops.
Genetic Plant Engineering
- Scientists have made flowers and plants stronger by using genetic reprogramming. They have done this so the plants can be resistant to things that hurt them.
- Bits of DNA from plants with good traits could make plants more productive. It would help plants live in different conditions.
Plant Monitoring / Diagnosis
- It can be used to create sensors that can detect soil moisture levels or nutrient deficiencies in crops.
- Many plants get sick. Scientists and farmers can use some molecules to detect plant diseases before they spread to other plants.
- Special machines can also tell if produce is bad before we eat them.
- Using nanomaterials, scientists are trying to make seeds last longer. This will help farmers after they’ve harvested their crops.
- New nanotechnology can help us keep food fresher longer. That could save people money and decrease food waste.
Animal Breeding and Animal Health
- Scientists use nanotechnology to heal sick animals. Scientists also use it to find diseases in animals.
- Traditionally, medicines were tested on different animals. That method was hard and expensive. New methods using nanoparticles are easier and cheaper.
DISADVANTAGES OF NANOTECHNOLOGY IN AGRICULTURE
As much as nanotechnology has positively impacted agriculture, there are concerns that need to be addressed. Besides, the application of nanotech concepts in agriculture is still in the experimental stages. (Research from Skyline University Nigeria)
-Metal particles can build up in the bodies of animals that eat the plants. This process is called bioaccumulation. It happens because animals don’t get rid of things they eat fast enough. With time, it can cause health problems in animals.
-The long-term effects of most nanoparticles are still unknown. We need more research to better understand nano-based materials used in agriculture.
-Phyto-toxicity describes any condition that can inhibit plant growth. Engineered nanoparticles can cause toxicity in plants if they are used improperly.
NANOTECHNOLOGY PROMOTES SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE
Nanotechnology applications can increase crop productivity while reducing environmental pollution. The use of nanotech concepts in farming and livestock keeping can improve food security in the world.
Nonetheless, more research needs to be done on nanoparticles. This will help scientists avoid possible complications that may result from the use of nanomaterials.
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