Review on applications of nanotechnology in agriculture

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Author: 
Shilpi Yadav and Dr. M. K. Yadav
Abstract: 

Agriculture sector contributes significantly to the national economy and S&T has played a significant role in increasing agricultural productivity over the years. An extensive agricultural research system with a widespread extension machinery and government policy has enabled the agriculture sector to respond to the increasing demand for agricultural produce. However, in recent decades the agricultural scenario has witnessed several challenges like declining farm profitability, depletion of natural resources, resurgence of new pests and diseases, global warming and climate change. With increasing population there is further pressure on this sector to meet the growing food demand. Frontier cutting edge technology like nanotechnology is one such emerging area in S&T, which holds significant promise for agriculture. Nanotechnology is a promising field of interdisciplinary research. It opens up a wide array of opportunities in various fields like medicine, pharmaceuticals, electronics and agriculture. The potential uses and benefits of nanotechnology are enormous. The current global population is nearly 7 billion with 50% living in Asia. A large proportion of those living in developing countries face daily food shortages as a result of environmental impacts or political instability, while in the developed world there is surplus of food. For developing countries, the drive is to develop drought and pest resistant crops, which also maximize yield. The potential of nanotechnology to revolutionize the health care, textile, materials, information and communication technology, and energy sectors has been well publicized. The application of nanotechnology to agriculture and food industries is also getting attention nowadays. Investments in agriculture and food nanotechnologies carry increasing weight because their potential benefits range from improved food quality and safety to reduced agricultural inputs and improved processing and nutrition. While most investment is made primarily in developed countries, research advancements provide glimpses of potential applications in agricultural, food, and water safety that could have significant impacts on rural populations in developing countries. In the near future nanostructured catalysts will be available which will increase the efficiency of pesticides and herbicides, allowing lower doses to be used. Nanotechnology will also protect the environment indirectly through the use of alternative (renewable) energy supplies, and filters or catalysts to reduce pollution and clean-up existing pollutants.

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