Nanopesticides: Current status and scope for their application in agriculture

Yadav J., Jasrotia P., Kashyap P.L., Bhardwaj A.K., Kumar S., Singh M., Singh G.P. (2022): Nanopesticides: Current status and scope for their application in agriculture. Plant Protect. Sci., 58:1-17.

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 Nanotechnology is a rapidly evolving field that has the potential to revolutionise food systems and counter the present-day challenge of food security. It envisages taking agriculture from the era of indiscriminate natural resource use and environmental degradation to the brave new world of advanced systems with enhanced material use efficiency and targeted applications to reduce crop losses caused due to abiotic-biotic stresses as well as to give due considerations to the environment. To manage plant diseases and insect pests, pesticides are inevitably used in agriculture. However, the higher dosage of these chemicals on a per hectare basis has resulted in many environmental and health hazards. To tackle the conventional pesticide related issues, a new field of science called nanotechnology has led to the development of nanopesticides that have less active ingredients, but better efficiency. The nanopesticides contain the carrier molecule or the active nanosized ingredient with a very high surface area to the volume property that provides them unique exploitable-advantages. Several formulations, viz., nanoemulsions, nanosuspensions, nanogels, metal compound-based nanopesticides, have been developed for different modes of action and vivid applications. The biggest advantage comes due to the small size of the particles that help in properly spreading the ingredients on the pest surface and, thus, producing a better action than conventional pesticides. The use of nanoparticles in the form of nanopesticides, nanofertilisers, and nano delivery systems is on the increase day by day due to their higher efficiency and reduced dosage requirements. However, human beings and other organisms are also getting exposed to the nano-entities during the application or afterwards. The interactions of these engineered nano-entities with biological systems are relatively unknown thus far. Therefore, before their wider usage in crop production and protection, a better understanding of their interactions, and adverse effects, if any, is also crucial for a sustainable transition.

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