Special Issue "Application of Nanotechnology in Sustainable Agriculture"

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Farming Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 May 2021) | Viewed by 5300

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Sanghamitra Majumdar
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Little Rock, AR, USA
Interests: nano-enabled agriculture; sustainable agriculture; risk assessment of emerging chemicals; proteomics; metabolomics; food safety; micro/nano-plastic
Dr. Luca Pagano
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Chemistry, Life Sciences and Environmental Sustainability, University of Parma, 43124 Parma, Italy
Interests: plant-nanomaterial interaction; nanofertilizers; nanotoxicology; transcriptomics
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The application of nanotechnology has unfolded novel avenues in the food and agriculture industry to address various challenges threatening global food security. Nanomaterials have shown potential in improving plant growth and yield, increasing resistance and resilience against pests and unfavorable abiotic conditions, controlled release of conventional agrochemicals, assessing water/soil quality, and food storage. However, many questions regarding their sustainable application, production/infrastructural cost, impact on crop health and nutrition, and public health safety remain unanswered. These have been the major bottlenecks for the transition of nanomaterial-based agricultural products from patents and publications in the field.

A better understanding of the mechanisms at the nanomaterial–plant interface is required for bridging the gap between nanoscale interactions at cellular level and phenotypic expression in plants. Furthermore, the interplay of the nanomaterials with existing organic/inorganic fertilizers/pesticides remains poorly understood. Mechanistic information at different hierarchical levels including phenotypic, metabolic, protein, and genetic levels are required to elucidate the principal mechanisms involved in the nanomaterial exposure and uptake, as well as to shed light on the response pathways exploited in plants. Significant efforts are necessary to assess the efficiency and cost–benefit of the proposed nanomaterial-based agricultural products over their conventional analogues and existing agrochemicals.

In this Special Issue entitled “Application of Nanotechnology in Sustainable Agriculture”, we invite researchers and experts to contribute original research, critical reviews, and opinions exploring applications of nanotechnology in agricultural sustainability by various means, including but not limited to increased plant growth and yield, crop protection from biotic and abiotic factors, nano-based sensor development for detection of stress signals and soil/water quality, and improved storage and packaging capability. We encourage integration of multidisciplinary research oriented towards nanomaterial–plant interactions at the physiological, biochemical, and molecular level using advanced analytical techniques and robust data analysis to correlate mechanistic and phenotypic information, especially for crop species related to human consumption and animal feed. We further encourage articles focusing on risk assessment of nanomaterial-based agricultural products for their safe and sustainable applicability in the real world, thereby contributing toward regulatory decision making.

Dr. Sanghamitra Majumdar
Dr. Luca Pagano
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Nanomaterials
  • Plant growth
  • Stress response
  • Sustainable agriculture

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Article
Effects of Phosphorus Ensembled Nanomaterials on Nutrient Uptake and Distribution in Glycine max L. under Simulated Precipitation
Agronomy 2021, 11(6), 1086; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11061086 - 27 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1091
Abstract
Nanoscale hydroxyapatite (nHA) was synthesized to investigate its potential as a phosphorus (P) ensembled nanofertilizer, using soybean (Glycine max L.) as a model plant. The conventional analogue phosphate (pi) was used for comparison with the synthesized nHA. Varied precipitation intensities (0%, 30%, [...] Read more.
Nanoscale hydroxyapatite (nHA) was synthesized to investigate its potential as a phosphorus (P) ensembled nanofertilizer, using soybean (Glycine max L.) as a model plant. The conventional analogue phosphate (pi) was used for comparison with the synthesized nHA. Varied precipitation intensities (0%, 30%, 60%, and 100%) were simulated by adding selected volumes of the P fertilizers (nHA or pi) via foliar spray and soil amendment. The total amounts of added P were the same across all the treatments. The importance of a wash-off effect was investigated on foliar-treated seedlings by evaluating different watering heights (20, 120, and 240 cm above the seedlings). Fresh weight, pigment content, macro-, and micronutrient contents were measured in soybean tissues across all the treatments after 4 weeks of greenhouse cultivation. The synthesized nHA showed superior effects on plant nutrient content upon high precipitation intensities. For example, at 100% precipitation intensity, there was 32.6% more P and 33.2% more Ca in shoots, 40.6% more P and 45.4% more Ca in roots, and 37.9% more P and 82.3% more Ca in pods, as compared to those with pi treatment, respectively. No impact on soybean biomass was evident upon the application of nHA or pi. Further investigation into customizing nHA to enhance its affinity with crop leaves and to extend retention time on the leaf surface is warranted given that the present study did not show significant positive impacts of nHA on soybean growth under the effects of precipitation. Taken together, our findings increase understanding of the potential application of nHA as a nano-enabled fertilizer in sustainable agriculture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Nanotechnology in Sustainable Agriculture)
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Article
Seed Priming and Coating by Nano-Scale Zinc Oxide Particles Improved Vegetative Growth, Yield and Quality of Fodder Maize (Zea mays)
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 729; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040729 - 09 Apr 2021
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 1175
Abstract
Nano-fertilizers of essential plant nutrients, including micronutrients, have the potential to improve nutrient use efficiency and productivity of field crops in deficient soils. The present study reports the comparative influence of zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnONPs) and bulk Zn salt (ZnSO4) on [...] Read more.
Nano-fertilizers of essential plant nutrients, including micronutrients, have the potential to improve nutrient use efficiency and productivity of field crops in deficient soils. The present study reports the comparative influence of zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnONPs) and bulk Zn salt (ZnSO4) on the growth, yield, and quality of fodder maize (Zea mays) (var. J-1006) cultivated under field conditions in the year 2019. Three levels (0, 20, and 40 mg L−1) of Zn fertilizers were used for seed priming and coating in triplicate following the randomized complete block design model. An increase in vegetative and yield parameters (number of plants, plant height, stover yield, plant biomass), acid detergent fiber (ADF%), and hemicellulose contents and shoot zinc (Zn) content on treatment of seeds with ZnONPs (20 mg L−1) concentration as compared to bulk ZnSO4 and control treatments was observed. The application of ZnONPs (40 mg L−1) significantly enhanced the total chlorophyll content, available soil nitrogen and phosphorus, neutral detergent fiber (NDF%), and cellulose contents and improved the total soil microbial counts and soil enzyme activities (dehydrogenase, acid and alkaline phosphatase enzyme activities), whereas a significant increase in available soil potassium and zinc contents was recorded under ZnONPs (20 mg L−1) treatments. These findings suggest an encouraging effect on the growth and yield attributing characteristics of fodder maize after ZnONPs seed coating at low concentration. Furthermore, ZnONPs seed coating can also be considered an effective tool for the delivery of Zn micronutrient to fodder maize crop. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Nanotechnology in Sustainable Agriculture)
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Article
Development of Vernonia amygdalina Leaf Extract Emulsion Formulations in Controlling Gray Mold Disease on Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.)
Agronomy 2021, 11(2), 373; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11020373 - 20 Feb 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 865
Abstract
Postharvest fruits including tomatoes are commonly infected by gray mold disease resulting in significant economic losses in the fruit industry. Therefore, this study aimed to develop botanical fungicide derived from Vernonia amygdalina leaf extract to control gray mold on tomato. The emulsion formulation [...] Read more.
Postharvest fruits including tomatoes are commonly infected by gray mold disease resulting in significant economic losses in the fruit industry. Therefore, this study aimed to develop botanical fungicide derived from Vernonia amygdalina leaf extract to control gray mold on tomato. The emulsion formulation containing surfactant, oil carrier and water was optimized at different non-ionic alkyl polyglucoside surfactants through eleven combinations of oil to surfactant ratio (0:10, 1:9, 2:8, 3:7, 4:6, 5:5, 6:4, 7:3, 8:2, 9:1 and 10:0 w/w). From eight selected formulations, two formulations, F5 and F7 showed stable in storage, remarkable thermodynamic stability, smaller particle size (66.44 and 139.63 nm), highly stable in zeta potential (−32.70 and −31.70 mV), low in polydispersity index (0.41 and 0.40 PdI), low in viscosity (4.20 and 4.37 cP) and low in surface tension (27.62 and 26.41 mN/m) as compared to other formulations. In situ antifungal activity on tomato fruits showed F5 formulation had a fungicidal activity against B. cinerea with zero disease incidence and severity, whereas F7 formulation reduced 62.5% disease incidence compared to a positive control with scale 1. Based on these findings, F5 formulation exhibited pronounced antifungal activity and may contribute to the development of new and safe antifungal product against gray mold on tomato. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Nanotechnology in Sustainable Agriculture)
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Review

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Review
Tools for Nano-Enabled Agriculture: Fertilizers Based on Calcium Phosphate, Silicon, and Chitosan Nanostructures
Agronomy 2021, 11(6), 1239; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11061239 - 18 Jun 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1385
Abstract
The Green New Deal requires a profound transformation of the agricultural sector, which will have to become more sustainable and ensure universal access to healthy food. Thus, it will be essential to introduce radical technological innovations. Nanotechnologies have the potential to produce a [...] Read more.
The Green New Deal requires a profound transformation of the agricultural sector, which will have to become more sustainable and ensure universal access to healthy food. Thus, it will be essential to introduce radical technological innovations. Nanotechnologies have the potential to produce a significant boost to the improvement of the food system. Within this context, in the next years, a strong challenge will need to be faced regarding developing new and more efficient uses of nutrients in agriculture, being the nutrient use efficiency (NUE) paramount in sustaining high crop productivity without depleting biodiversity, and altering both the natural and agricultural systems. Nutrients leaching causes environmental pollution and water eutrophication, while nutrient excess favors pest and weed widespread. Therefore, it will be mandatory to improve plant nutrition efficiency without affecting agricultural productivity and economic sustainability. A promising alternative consists of the introduction of the so-called nanomaterial enhanced fertilizers and plant growth stimulators. Such innovation includes nanotechnological solutions that can improve nutrient delivery for a more finely tuned, accurate, and saving-resources distribution of nutrients. This review provides a critical view of the latest advances in nanofertilizer research, mainly referring to nano-hydroxyapatite, silica nanoparticles, and chitosan-derived nanostructures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Nanotechnology in Sustainable Agriculture)
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