Special Issue "Nanotechnology Applications in Agriculture System"

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Innovative Cropping Systems".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 January 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. David W. Britt
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biological Engineering, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322-4105, USA
Tel. +1-435-797-2158
Interests: 1) Biomaterials, non-fouling coatings, and interfacial processes; 2) Directing protein structure-function and self-assembly with engineered nanoparticles and molecular imprinting; 3) Nanoparticle interactions with beneficial microbes and plants for agricultural applications. Paralleling these research efforts Dr. Britt is actively involved in outreach activities to engage and inspire students from all backgrounds to succeed in STEM disciplines. This research is currently funded by NSF-CBET, USDA-NIFA, and global companies in the biomedical industry
Prof. Neena Mitter
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia
Tel. +61-7-3346-6513
Interests: Nanotechnology, Nanomaterials for Disease Management - Plants and Animal Applications, Applied research and design, Regulatory framework
Dr. Karishma Mody
E-Mail
Guest Editor
Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia
Interests: biomaterials for agriculture applications; nanoparticles as next-generation adjuvants for vaccine delivery; regulation of agricultural nano-products

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Nanotechnology is emerging to create innovations for the billion-dollar agricultural industry by providing potential solutions for key challenges threatening global food security. Advancement in nanotechnology represents opportunity for the development of more precise and effective tools for diagnosis and treatments in agricultural applications. The use of nanomaterials in the agriculture sector particularly aims to reduce applications of protection products, minimize nutrient losses in fertilization, and increase yields through optimized nutrient management. The need to adapt and improve control agents such as pesticides grows each year, driven by the need for greater production under the constraints of climate change, community and regulatory demands, toxicity issues and pesticide resistance.

For crop disease management nanoparticles alone or as carriers are used to develop innovative insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, fertilizers, and double-stranded RNA for RNA-interference (RNAi)-mediated protection. For animal health the application of nanomaterials mainly focuses on the development of vaccines, biocides, feeds, efficient drug delivery systems, and nutrient delivery systems. Targeted and sustained micronutrient delivery through nano-based fertilizers offer means of improving crop production while decreasing cost and environmental impact. Despite the numerous advantages of nanotechnology and the growing trends in publications and patents, agricultural applications have not yet made it to the market. Integration of new tools and techniques in agriculture nanotechnology is required to generate robust data for analysis, characterization, and risk assessment for better regulatory evaluation and environmental concerns. 

This special issue of Agronomy Journal will feature ‘Nanotechnology Applications in Agriculture System’. We invite experts and researchers to contribute original research, reviews and opinion pieces covering all related topics including nanoparticle chemistry, understanding the role of nanoparticles for crop disease management, applications of nanomaterials in animal production, interaction of nanoparticles with the environment, risk assessment and regulatory evaluation of nanoparticle based agricultural products.

Prof. David W. Britt
Prof. Neena Mitter
Dr. Karishma Mody
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Agronomy is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Nanomaterials
  • Agriculture
  • Livestock
  • Nano-pesticides
  • Nano-fertilizers
  • Nano-vaccines
  • Disease management
  • Antibiotic-resistance
  • Risk assesment strategies
  • Regulatory framework

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
The Influence of Copper and Silver Nanocolloids on the Quality of Pressed Spring Rapeseed Oil
Agronomy 2019, 9(10), 643; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9100643 - 16 Oct 2019
Abstract
The aim of this study was to evaluate the quality of virgin oil pressed from spring rape seeds cultivated with the use of colloidal nanosilver and nanocopper solutions for processing seeds and as foliar fertilizer. The results show that the use of nanometals [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the quality of virgin oil pressed from spring rape seeds cultivated with the use of colloidal nanosilver and nanocopper solutions for processing seeds and as foliar fertilizer. The results show that the use of nanometals for seed processing and foliar fertilization increased the content of carotenoid pigments in the oil. The pigment concentration was higher compared to oil pressed from control seeds. The application of nanocolloids onto the seeds and subsequently on the growing plants contributed to the increase of the oxidative stability of oils. Both the acid number (AN) and peroxide number (PN) values were higher in the studied oils as compared to the control, but did not exceed the required allowable levels. Increased content of silver ions and slightly increased copper content was observed in the pressed oil. An infrared spectral analysis (Fourier-Transformed Infra-Red) conducted in combination with chemometrics allowed the classification of the studied oils in terms of their chemical composition. The analysis revealed the presence of bands characteristic of Cu-O-H vibrations after soaking the seeds and spraying the plants with copper nanocolloid, and of C-O-Ag after fertilization with silver nanocolloid. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanotechnology Applications in Agriculture System)
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Open AccessArticle
Stimulatory Effect of Silver Nanoparticles on the Growth and Flowering of Potted Oriental Lilies
Agronomy 2019, 9(10), 610; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9100610 - 03 Oct 2019
Abstract
Nanoparticles exhibit unique biological activities and may serve as novel plant growth stimulators. This research consisted of a two-year pot experiment designed to find out if silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) might be used in the cultivation of Oriental lilies. In the first year, we [...] Read more.
Nanoparticles exhibit unique biological activities and may serve as novel plant growth stimulators. This research consisted of a two-year pot experiment designed to find out if silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) might be used in the cultivation of Oriental lilies. In the first year, we evaluated the effects of various concentrations of AgNPs (0, 25, 50, 100, and 150 ppm) and their application methods (pre-planting bulb soaks, foliar sprays, and substrate drenches) on the growth and flowering of Lilium cv. Mona Lisa. In the second year, we evaluated the effects of soaking the bulbs of cv. Little John in the same concentration of AgNP solution on plant morphological features, leaf content of photosynthetic pigments, basic macronutrients, and complex biomolecules with the use of the Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). Soaking the bulbs in a nanoparticle solution turned out to be the most effective strategy for growth and flowering promotion. AgNPs stimulated plant growth, as manifested by enhanced accumulation of leaf and bulb biomass and accelerated flowering. Moreover, plants treated with silver nanoparticles showed higher leaf greenness index, formed more flowers, and flowered longer. At 100 ppm AgNPs, the leaves accumulated the highest content of chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b, and carotenoids, and were the richest in potassium, calcium, and sulfur. The FTIR spectra did not show any changes in absorbance intensity and chemical composition in the leaves from AgNP-treated bulbs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanotechnology Applications in Agriculture System)
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Hydroxyapatite Nanoparticles on Germination and Plant Metabolism of Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.): Preliminary Evidence
Agronomy 2019, 9(4), 161; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9040161 - 27 Mar 2019
Abstract
The Nutrient Use Efficiency in intensive agriculture is lower than 50% for macronutrients. This feature results in unsustainable financial and environmental costs. Nanofertilizers are a promising application of nanotechnology in agriculture. The use of nanofertilizers in an efficient and safe manner calls for [...] Read more.
The Nutrient Use Efficiency in intensive agriculture is lower than 50% for macronutrients. This feature results in unsustainable financial and environmental costs. Nanofertilizers are a promising application of nanotechnology in agriculture. The use of nanofertilizers in an efficient and safe manner calls for knowledge about the actual effects of nanoproducts on the plant metabolism and eventually on the carrier release kinetics and nutrient accumulation. Hydroxyapatite (Ca10(PO4)6(OH)2) nanoparticles (nHA) have an interesting potential to be used as nanofertilizers. In this study, the effects of different nHA solutions stabilized with carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) were evaluated on germination, seedling growth, and metabolism of Solanum lycopersicum L., used as model species. Our observations showed that the percentage germination of S. lycopersicum is not influenced by increasing concentrations of nHa, while root elongation is strongly stimulated. Tomato plants grown in hydroponics in the presence of nHA have not suffered phytotoxic effects. We conclude that nHA had nontoxic effects on our model plant and therefore it could be used both as a P supplier and carrier of other elements and molecules. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanotechnology Applications in Agriculture System)
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Open AccessArticle
Efficiency of Nanoparticle, Sulfate, and Zinc-Chelate Use on Biomass, Yield, and Nitrogen Assimilation in Green Beans
Agronomy 2019, 9(3), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9030128 - 08 Mar 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The introduction of nanofertilizers (Nfs) in agriculture has allowed the development of new technologies that enhance the productivity of crops. Within the most studied Nfs we find metal oxides, especially ZnO; however, the results of various experiments provide contradictory data on the growth [...] Read more.
The introduction of nanofertilizers (Nfs) in agriculture has allowed the development of new technologies that enhance the productivity of crops. Within the most studied Nfs we find metal oxides, especially ZnO; however, the results of various experiments provide contradictory data on the growth variables. Therefore, this study intended to evaluate the efficiency associated with the use of nanoparticles, sulfates, and zinc-chelates in Phaseolus vulgaris L. cv. Strike grown in acid soil, as well as to evaluate its production, total biomass, and nitrogen assimilation. Phaseolus vulgaris L. cv. Strike plants were sprouted and grown in polyethylene bags containing 3 kg of acid soil (pH 6.8) in an experimental greenhouse and were watered with a nutritious solution. A completely randomized design including ten treatments and five repetitions was used. Treatments consisted of applying different zinc sources (sulfate, DTPA chelate, and zinc oxide nanoparticles) to four different doses (0, 25, 50, and 100 ppm of zinc). Results obtained indicated that the doses best favoring an increase in biomass, production, and nitrogen assimilation were 50 ppm of ZnSO4, 100 ppm of DTPA-Zn, and 25 ppm of zinc oxide nanofertilizers (NfsOZn). Hence, the dose containing 25 ppm of NfsOZn was the most efficient dose, since at a lower dose it was able to equalize biomass accumulation, production, and nitrogen assimilation as compared to ZnSO4 and DTPA-Zn sources. However, further research is required, given that high-concentration doses were toxic for beans. Finally, it is worth highlighting that zinc oxide nanoparticles have a huge potential to be used as nanofertilizers if applied in optimal concentrations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanotechnology Applications in Agriculture System)
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Open AccessArticle
Preparation and In Vitro Characterization of Chitosan Nanoparticles and Their Broad-Spectrum Antifungal Action Compared to Antibacterial Activities against Phytopathogens of Tomato
Agronomy 2019, 9(1), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9010021 - 08 Jan 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
The present study was to prepare chitosan nanoparticles (CNPs) from chitosan (CS) to evaluate their in vitro antimicrobial activities against phytopathogens of tomato. We prepared and characterized CNPs for their particle size, polydispersity index, and structures. The antifungal properties of CS and CNPs [...] Read more.
The present study was to prepare chitosan nanoparticles (CNPs) from chitosan (CS) to evaluate their in vitro antimicrobial activities against phytopathogens of tomato. We prepared and characterized CNPs for their particle size, polydispersity index, and structures. The antifungal properties of CS and CNPs against phytopathogenic fungi namely Colletotrichum gelosporidies, Phytophthora capsici, Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, Fusarium oxysporum, Gibberella fujikuori were investigated. CNPs showed the maximum growth inhibitory effects on mycelial growth of F. oxysporum followed by P. capsici. We also studied antibacterial activities against phytopathogenic bacteria, such as three strains of Erwinia carotovora subsp. carotovora and one strain of Xanthomonas campestris pv. vesicatoria. Our results showed that both CS and CNPs markedly inhibited the growth of the both Xanthomonas and Erwinia strains. From our study, it is evident that both CS and CNPs have tremendous potential against phytopathogens of tomato for further field screening towards crop protection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanotechnology Applications in Agriculture System)
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Open AccessArticle
In Vitro Antifungal Activity of Composites of AgNPs and Polyphenol Inclusion Compounds against Fusarium culmorum in Different Dispersion Media
Agronomy 2018, 8(11), 239; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8110239 - 28 Oct 2018
Abstract
Fusarium culmorum is a soil-borne fungus able to cause Fusarium head blight, one of the most important cereal diseases worldwide, which can result in significant yield losses of up to 50% and which jeopardizes food and feed safety due to the mycotoxins produced. [...] Read more.
Fusarium culmorum is a soil-borne fungus able to cause Fusarium head blight, one of the most important cereal diseases worldwide, which can result in significant yield losses of up to 50% and which jeopardizes food and feed safety due to the mycotoxins produced. In the study presented herein, the enhancement of the antifungal activity against this pathogen, resulting from the addition of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) to different polyphenol-stevioside inclusion compounds, dispersed either in a chitosan oligomers hydroalcoholic solution or in a choline chloride:urea:glycerol deep eutectic solvent, was investigated in vitro. The polyphenols assayed were curcumin, ferulic acid, gallic acid and silymarin. Four composite concentrations (62.5, 125, 250 and 500 µg·mL−1), with and without AgNPs, were assessed, finding noticeable differences in mycelial growth inhibition, with EC50 and EC90 values ranging from 118 to 579 µg·mL−1 and from 333 to 2604 µg·mL−1, respectively. The obtained results evidenced the improved efficacy of the composites with AgNPs, a superior performance of the composites based on curcumin and ferulic acid, and the advantages of the deep eutectic solvent-based dispersion medium over the chitosan oligomers-based one. The reported composites hold promise for crop protection applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanotechnology Applications in Agriculture System)
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Open AccessArticle
Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles Boosts Phenolic Compounds and Antioxidant Activity of Capsicum annuum L. during Germination
Agronomy 2018, 8(10), 215; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8100215 - 03 Oct 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
The effects of zinc oxide nanoparticles on seed germination and seedling growth of Capsicum annuum L. were determined in this research. Total phenols content, total flavonoids, and condensed tannins, as well as 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) antioxidant capacity was determined. Results indicated that treatment with [...] Read more.
The effects of zinc oxide nanoparticles on seed germination and seedling growth of Capsicum annuum L. were determined in this research. Total phenols content, total flavonoids, and condensed tannins, as well as 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) antioxidant capacity was determined. Results indicated that treatment with zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO-NPs) improved seed germination rate during the first seven days. The seed vigor germination increased 123.50%, 129.40% and 94.17% by treatment with ZnO-NPs suspensions at 100, 200 and 500 ppm, respectively. The morphological parameters tested revealed that ZnO-NPs treatments did not significantly affect plumule development, but they had a significant impact (p ≤ 0.01) on radicle length. Suspensions at 100, 200 and 500 ppm of ZnO-NPs inhibited seedling radicle growth and promoted accumulation of phenolic compounds, with a phytotoxic effect in this organ. Results suggested that zinc oxide nanoparticles influence seed vigor and seedling development and promoted the accumulation of desirable phenolic compounds in the radicle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanotechnology Applications in Agriculture System)
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Open AccessArticle
Foliar Application of Cu Nanoparticles Modified the Content of Bioactive Compounds in Moringa oleifera Lam
Agronomy 2018, 8(9), 167; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8090167 - 29 Aug 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Moringa oleifera Lam is a plant that has recently gained importance as a food because of its nutritional value and bioactive compound content and because practically all the organs are usable. The use of nanoparticles has appeared as an alternative to increase bioactive [...] Read more.
Moringa oleifera Lam is a plant that has recently gained importance as a food because of its nutritional value and bioactive compound content and because practically all the organs are usable. The use of nanoparticles has appeared as an alternative to increase bioactive compounds in plants. The goal of this work was to determine if the application of copper nanoparticles would increase the content of bioactive compounds and antioxidant capacity in M. oleifera. Copper (Cu) nanoparticles were applied to the leaves at four different times throughout crop growth. The biocompounds were analyzed after the second, third, and fourth applications. The results show that application of Cu nanoparticles has a beneficial effect on the accumulation of bioactive compounds in M. oleifera leaves. In addition, the antioxidant capacity and carotenoid and chlorophyll contents in the leaves of M. oleifera increased after Cu nanoparticles application. The same effect was not observed in the fruit of M. oleifera. Here, the bioactive compound contents diminished. Therefore, the use of Cu nanoparticles can be an important alternative to improve the quality of this plant, particularly that of the leaves. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanotechnology Applications in Agriculture System)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Effects of Manganese Nanoparticle Exposure on Nutrient Acquisition in Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)
Agronomy 2018, 8(9), 158; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8090158 - 21 Aug 2018
Cited by 7
Abstract
Nanoparticles are used in a variety of products, including fertilizer-nutrients and agro-pesticides. However, due to heightened reactivity of nano-scale materials, the effects of nanoparticle nutrients on crops can be more dramatic when compared to non nano-scale nutrients. This study evaluated the effect of [...] Read more.
Nanoparticles are used in a variety of products, including fertilizer-nutrients and agro-pesticides. However, due to heightened reactivity of nano-scale materials, the effects of nanoparticle nutrients on crops can be more dramatic when compared to non nano-scale nutrients. This study evaluated the effect of nano manganese-(Mn) on wheat yield and nutrient acquisition, relative to bulk and ionic-Mn. Wheat was exposed to the Mn types in soil (6 mg/kg/plant), and nano-Mn was repeated in foliar application. Plant growth, grain yield, nutrient acquisition, and residual soil nutrients were assessed. When compared to the control, all Mn types significantly (p < 0.05) reduced shoot N by 9–18%. However, nano-Mn in soil exhibited other subtle effects on nutrient acquisition that were different from ionic or bulk-Mn, including reductions in shoot Mn (25%), P (33%), and K (7%) contents, and increase (30%) in soil residual nitrate-N. Despite lowering shoot Mn, nano-Mn resulted in a higher grain Mn translocation efficiency (22%), as compared to salt-Mn (20%), bulk-Mn (21%), and control (16%). When compared to soil, foliar exposure to nano-Mn exhibited significant differences: greater shoot (37%) and grain (12%) Mn contents; less (40%) soil nitrate-N; and, more soil (17%) and shoot (43%) P. These findings indicate that exposure to nano-scale Mn in soil could affect plants in subtle ways, differing from bulk or ionic-Mn, suggesting caution in its use in agriculture. Applying nano Mn as a foliar treatment could enable greater control on plant responses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanotechnology Applications in Agriculture System)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Nanotechnology for Plant Disease Management
Agronomy 2018, 8(12), 285; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8120285 - 28 Nov 2018
Cited by 7
Abstract
Each year, 20%–40% of crops are lost due to plant pests and pathogens. Existing plant disease management relies predominantly on toxic pesticides that are potentially harmful to humans and the environment. Nanotechnology can offer advantages to pesticides, like reducing toxicity, improving the shelf-life, [...] Read more.
Each year, 20%–40% of crops are lost due to plant pests and pathogens. Existing plant disease management relies predominantly on toxic pesticides that are potentially harmful to humans and the environment. Nanotechnology can offer advantages to pesticides, like reducing toxicity, improving the shelf-life, and increasing the solubility of poorly water-soluble pesticides, all of which could have positive environmental impacts. This review explores the two directions in which nanoparticles can be utilized for plant disease management: either as nanoparticles alone, acting as protectants; or as nanocarriers for insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, and RNA-interference molecules. Despite the several potential advantages associated with the use of nanoparticles, not many nanoparticle-based products have been commercialized for agricultural application. The scarcity of commercial applications could be explained by several factors, such as an insufficient number of field trials and underutilization of pest–crop host systems. In other industries, nanotechnology has progressed rapidly, and the only way to keep up with this advancement for agricultural applications is by understanding the fundamental questions of the research and addressing the scientific gaps to provide a rational and facilitate the development of commercial nanoproducts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanotechnology Applications in Agriculture System)
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