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Nanotechnological Interventions for Improving Plant Health and Productivity

  • Anjali Pande
  • Sandeep Arora
Chapter

Abstract

Green revolution was responsible for ushering in a significant enhancement in crop productivity. It turned agriculture in India from a household occupation to an industrial system. This phase of rapid industrialization was brought about by the use of improved crop varieties, modern methods of cultivation and use of pesticides and herbicides. However, uncontrolled and excessive use of synthetic growth enhancers, pesticides and fungicide chemicals, has given rise to problems related with soil health, sustainability of productivity, environment stability and health etc. As a result, novel alternative approaches utilizing environmentally benign bio-fertilizers/bio-pesticides, as substitutes to harmful agro-chemicals, came into use so as to ensure human health and environment safety. In more recent times, population explosion and climate changes due to global warming have put additional strain on agricultural scientists to grow sufficient food from less arable land. Therefore, the present era focuses on innovative technologies which are oriented towards addressing the current challenges of sustainability, food safety and security and environment health. Researchers all over the world are exploring the feasibility of various innovative approaches, including nano-technological interventions, for improvement in agricultural sector. State-of-art research has identified the potential of highly innovative nano-material applications in food production. Nanotechnology, though not a recent concept, offers a diverse array of conceptual applications in the field of agriculture aimed at improving plant health and productivity. Nano-based products like nano-fertilizers, nano-diagnostics, nano-fertigation products and nano-pesticides, etc. offer multifaceted advantage over their macro-chemical counterparts. Nano-fertilizers and fertigation based products intend to optimize nutrient use by crops through exploiting properties unique to nanoparticles. Their application is more effective and at lower concentrations than the huge amounts of chemical fertilizers which are responsible for soil degradation and contribute to pollution of surface and underground water resources. The use of smart delivery system enables nutrient management with minimal nutrient losses and maximal yield optimization. Additionally, nano-based smart sensors are useful in precision farming thus enabling maximum productivity from crops while reducing the input costs incurred on excessive nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium fertilizers, irrigation, etc., through rigorous monitoring of physical growth variables and regulated release mechanisms. Moreover, nano-sensors and nano-biosensors are useful for monitoring of soil pH, and soil composition parameters. Other interesting areas of scientific investigations are genetic manipulation of plants through nano-based gene delivery systems and enhancing the nutraceutical value of crops through nano-biofortification. Despite the huge amount of patents and published data on the numerous benefits of nanotechnology in farming sector, this technology has not yet been exploited to its fullest potential. However, it is apparent that nanotechnology marks a new horizon and is a promising technology for revolutionizing modern agriculture.

Keywords

Nanofertilzers Nano-bio-fortification Nano-biotechnology Plant stress Precision farming Sustainable agriculture 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anjali Pande
    • 1
  • Sandeep Arora
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Molecular Biology and Genetic Engineering, (CBSH)G. B. Pant University of Agriculture and TechnologyPantnagarIndia

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