Nanotechnology: A new frontier in Agriculture

Muhammad Azam Ali, Iqra Rehman, Adnan Iqbal, Salah ud Din, Abdul Qayyum Rao, Ayesha Latif, Tahir Rehman Samiullah, Saira Azam, Tayyab Husnain


Nanotechnology is science of manipulating materials at nano-scale. Among the latest technological advancements, nanotechnology occupies a central position. It has many applications in all stages of production, processing, storing, packaging and transport of agricultural products. The reduced use of herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers with increased efficiency, controlled release and targeted delivery will lead to precision farming. Dream of automated, centrally controlled agriculture can become reality now. Modern agriculture is need of hour because conventional agricultural will not be able to feed an ever increasing population with changing climate, depleting resources and shrinking landscape. But at the same time application of nano-materials in agri-food sector has to be evaluated for public acceptance so it does not come across a scenario as faced by GMOs in past. This article provides an overview of current and potential applications of nanotechnology in agriculture and food sector.


Fakruddin M, Hossain Z, Afroz H. Prospects and applications of nanobiotechnology: a medical perspective. Journal of nanobiotechnology, (2012); 10(1): 1-8.

Biglu M-H, Eskandari F, Asgharzadeh A. Scientometric Analysis of Nanotechnology in MEDLINE. BioImpacts: BI, (2011); 1(3): 193.

Brock DA, Douglas TE, Queller DC, Strassmann JE. Primitive agriculture in a social amoeba. Nature, (2011); 469(7330): 393-396.

Rai M, Ingle A. Role of nanotechnology in agriculture with special reference to management of insect pests. Applied microbiology and biotechnology, (2012); 94(2): 287-293.

Qamar Z, Nasir IA, Husnain T. In-vitro development of Cauliflower synthetic seeds and conversion to plantlets. Adv life sci,, (2014); 1(2): 34-41.

Prasad R, Bagde U, Varma A. An overview of intellectual property rights in relation to agricultural biotechnology. African Journal of Biotechnology, (2012); 11(73): 13746-13752.

Scrinis G, Lyons K. The emerging nano-corporate paradigm: nanotechnology and the transformation of nature, food and agri-food systems. International Journal of Sociology of Food and Agriculture, (2007); 15(2): 22-44.

Johnston CT. Probing the nanoscale architecture of clay minerals. Clay Minerals, (2010); 45(3): 245-279.

Ditta A. How helpful is nanotechnology in agriculture? Advances in Natural Sciences: Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, (2012); 3(3): 033002.

Sharon M, Choudhary AK, Kuma R. Nanotechnology in agricultural diseases and food safety. Journal of Phytology, (2010); 2(4): 83-92.

Allen R. Agriculture during the industrial revolution. The economic history of Britain since, (1994); 1700(3): 96-123.

Joseph T, Morrison M Nanotechnology in agriculture and food: a nanoforum report. Chapter: Book Name. 2006 of publication; Nanoforum. org.

Liu F, Wen L-X, Li Z-Z, Yu W, Sun H-Y, et al. Porous hollow silica nanoparticles as controlled delivery system for water-soluble pesticide. Materials research bulletin, (2006); 41(12): 2268-2275.

Ulrichs C, Mewis I, Goswami A. Crop diversification aiming nutritional security in West Bengal—biotechnology of stinging capsules in nature’s water-blooms. Ann Tech Issue of State Agri Technologists Service Assoc ISSN, (2005); 1-18.

Prasad R, Kumar V, Prasad KS. Nanotechnology in sustainable agriculture: Present concerns and future aspects. African Journal of Biotechnology, (2014); 13(6): 705-713.

Pérez‐de‐Luque A, Rubiales D. Nanotechnology for parasitic plant control. Pest management science, (2009); 65(5): 540-545.

Chinnamuthu C, Boopathi PM. Nanotechnology and agroecosystem. Madras Agricultural Journal, (2009); 96(1-6): 17-31.

Satapanajaru T, Anurakpongsatorn P, Pengthamkeerati P, Boparai H. Remediation of atrazine-contaminated soil and water by nano zerovalent iron. Water, air, and soil pollution, (2008); 192(1-4): 349-359.

Ingale AG, Chaudhari A. Biogenic Synthesis of Nanoparticles and Potential Applications: An Eco-Friendly Approach. Journal of Nanomedicine & Nanotechnology, (2013); 4(2).

Scott N, Chen H Nanoscale science and engineering for agriculture and food systems. Roadmap Report of National Planning Workshop. Washington, DC. November 18-19, 2002.

Mousavi SR, Rezaei M. Nanotechnology in agriculture and food production. J Appl Environ Biol Sci, (2011); 1414-419.


Fortner J, Lyon D, Sayes C, Boyd A, Falkner J, et al. C60 in water: nanocrystal formation and microbial response. Environmental Science & Technology, (2005); 39(11): 4307-4316.

Suresh AK, Pelletier DA, Wang W, Moon J-W, Gu B, et al. Silver nanocrystallites: biofabrication using Shewanella oneidensis, and an evaluation of their comparative toxicity on Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria. Environmental Science & Technology, (2010); 44(13): 5210-5215.

Jaidev L, Narasimha G. Fungal mediated biosynthesis of silver nanoparticles, characterization and antimicrobial activity. Colloids and surfaces B: Biointerfaces, (2010); 81(2): 430-433.

Warad H, Ghosh S, Thanachayanont C, Dutta J, Hilborn J. Highly luminescent manganese doped ZnS quantum dots for biological labeling; 2004.

Nair R, Varghese SH, Nair BG, Maekawa T, Yoshida Y, et al. Nanoparticulate material delivery to plants. Plant science, (2010); 179(3): 154-163.

Khodakovskaya M, Dervishi E, Mahmood M, Xu Y, Li Z, et al. Carbon nanotubes are able to penetrate plant seed coat and dramatically affect seed germination and plant growth. Acs Nano, (2009); 3(10): 3221-3227.

Yang F, Hong F, You W, Liu C, Gao F, et al. Influence of nano-anatase TiO2 on the nitrogen metabolism of growing spinach. Biological trace element research, (2006); 110(2): 179-190.

Hong F, Zhou J, Liu C, Yang F, Wu C, et al. Effect of nano-TiO2 on photochemical reaction of chloroplasts of spinach. Biological trace element research, (2005); 105(1-3): 269-279.

Yang F, Liu C, Gao F, Su M, Wu X, et al. The improvement of spinach growth by nano-anatase TiO2 treatment is related to nitrogen photoreduction. Biological trace element research, (2007); 119(1): 77-88.

DeRosa MC, Monreal C, Schnitzer M, Walsh R, Sultan Y. Nanotechnology in fertilizers. Nature nanotechnology, (2010); 5(2): 91-91.

Datnoff LE. Silicon Suppresses Leaf Spotting on Bermudagrass.

Cagri A, Ustunol Z, Ryser ET. Antimicrobial edible films and coatings. Journal of Food Protection®, (2004); 67(4): 833-848.

Park HJ. Development of advanced edible coatings for fruits. Trends in Food Science & Technology, (1999); 10(8): 254-260.

Predicala B. Nanotechnology: potential for agriculture. Prairie Swine Centre Inc, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, (2009); 123-134.

Siracusa V, Rocculi P, Romani S, Rosa MD. Biodegradable polymers for food packaging: a review. Trends in Food Science & Technology, (2008); 19(12): 634-643.

Farris S, Schaich KM, Liu L, Piergiovanni L, Yam KL. Development of polyion-complex hydrogels as an alternative approach for the production of bio-based polymers for food packaging applications: a review. Trends in Food Science & Technology, (2009); 20(8): 316-332.

Darder M, Aranda P, Ruiz-Hitzky E. Bionanocomposites: A New Concept of Ecological, Bioinspired, and Functional Hybrid Materials. Advanced Materials, (2007); 19(10): 1309-1319.

Bordes P, Pollet E, Avérous L. Nano-biocomposites: biodegradable polyester/nanoclay systems. Progress in Polymer Science, (2009); 34(2): 125-155.

Sinha Ray S, Bousmina M. Biodegradable polymers and their layered silicate nanocomposites: in greening the 21st century materials world. Progress in Materials Science, (2005); 50(8): 962-1079.

Choudalakis G, Gotsis A. Permeability of polymer/clay nanocomposites: a review. European Polymer Journal, (2009); 45(4): 967-984.

Rhim J-W. Effect of clay contents on mechanical and water vapor barrier properties of agar-based nanocomposite films. Carbohydrate polymers, (2011); 86(2): 691-699.

Rhim JW, Lee SB, Hong SI. Preparation and characterization of agar/clay nanocomposite films: the effect of clay type. Journal of food science, (2011); 76(3): N40-N48.

Yano T-a, Verma P, Saito Y, Ichimura T, Kawata S. Pressure-assisted tip-enhanced Raman imaging at a resolution of a few nanometres. Nature Photonics, (2009); 3(8): 473-477.

Park H-M, Lee W-K, Park C-Y, Cho W-J, Ha C-S. Environmentally friendly polymer hybrids Part I Mechanical, thermal, and barrier properties of thermoplastic starch/clay nanocomposites. Journal of Materials Science, (2003); 38(5): 909-915.

Azeredo H. Nanocomposites for food packaging applications. Food Research International, (2009); 42(9): 1240-1253.

Weiss J, Takhistov P, McClements DJ. Functional materials in food nanotechnology. Journal of food science, (2006); 71(9): R107-R116.

Cava D, Giménez E, Gavara R, Lagaron J. Comparative performance and barrier properties of biodegradable thermoplastics and nanobiocomposites versus PET for food packaging applications. Journal of plastic film and sheeting, (2006); 22(4): 265-274.

Petersson L, Oksman K. Biopolymer based nanocomposites: comparing layered silicates and microcrystalline cellulose as nanoreinforcement. Composites Science and Technology, (2006); 66(13): 2187-2196.

Bertini F, Canetti M, Audisio G, Costa G, Falqui L. Characterization and thermal degradation of polypropylene–montmorillonite nanocomposites. Polymer degradation and stability, (2006); 91(3): 600-605.

Zeng H, Gao C, Wang Y, Watts PC, Kong H, et al. In situ polymerization approach to multiwalled carbon nanotubes-reinforced nylon 1010 composites: mechanical properties and crystallization behavior. Polymer, (2006); 47(1): 113-122.

Bin Y, Mine M, Koganemaru A, Jiang X, Matsuo M. Morphology and mechanical and electrical properties of oriented PVA–VGCF and PVA–MWNT composites. Polymer, (2006); 47(4): 1308-1317.

Prashantha K, Soulestin J, Lacrampe M, Krawczak P, Dupin G, et al. Masterbatch-based multi-walled carbon nanotube filled polypropylene nanocomposites: Assessment of rheological and mechanical properties. Composites Science and Technology, (2009); 69(11): 1756-1763.

Salman M. Nanotechnology For Plant Pathogen Control.

Li Y, Cu YTH, Luo D. Multiplexed detection of pathogen DNA with DNA-based fluorescence nanobarcodes. Nature biotechnology, (2005); 23(7): 885-889.

Milanez DH, Amaral RMd, Faria LILd, Gregolin JAR. Assessing nanocellulose developments using science and technology indicators. Materials Research, (2013); 16(3): 635-641.

Sugunan A, Warad H, Thanachayanont C, Dutta J, Hofmann H (2005) Zinc Oxide Nanowires on Non-Epitaxial Substrates from Colloidal Processing, for Gas Sensing Applications. Nanostructured and Advanced Materials for Applications in Sensor, Optoelectronic and Photovoltaic Technology: Springer. pp. 335-338.

Wheeler S (2005) Factors Influencing Agricultural Professionals' Attitudes Towards Organic Agriculture and Biotechnology: ANU, Canberra.

Sugunan A, Dutta J. Pollution treatment, remediation and sensing. Nanotechnology, (2008).



  • There are currently no refbacks.