Nanotechnology: For sustainable agriculture and a solution for environmental issues

Nanotechnology: Pakistan is an Agricultural country. The population is increasing year by year as the estimate shows that population in 2018 has increased upto 200,449,993. This results in increasing pressure on Agricultural productivity. On the other hand Pakistan is also facing many other challenges as increase in environmental problems due to non- judicial use of resources, fertilizers etc. In these cases, we have to focus on such technologies which can fulfill additional demand for Agricultural production and may also solve environmental issues.

Nanotechnology has the best role in such circumstances. Nanotechnology is the use of nanoparticles in agriculture, industries and many other fields. The use of Nano particles in Agriculture is as Nanofertilizers and Nanopesticides to increase productivity. A question may arise that why Nanofertilizers are more effective than other fertilizers? The reason is, the smaller size of these particles possesses larger surface area and activity. These Nano particles not only enhance activity of microbes to provide some essential nutrients to plants but they also increase production in saline conditions. As we all know, chances of salinity development in Pakistani soils are more because of high temperature and low rainfall so the use of this technology is beneficial again.

Nano-encapsulation may also be used. Nanoparticles encapsulated fertilizers are used which results in slow release of nutrients to prevent leaching and volatilization losses. For example, slow release of nitrogen which is an important nutrient for plants growth was observed when urea was coated on Nanozeolite chips. In the same way all essential nutrients may be supplied in required amounts. Micro-nutrients which are essential and are required in small amounts for proper plant growth may be supplied by this technology. Nanozeolites may enhance water holding capacity of soil. Hence losses of water in warm season ’ll decrease and water ‘ll be available to crops and plants even in hot weather conditions.

Nanoparticles may also be used as Nano carriers. There are some fertilizers having Nanoparticles. We add nutrient in them and when we apply these fertilizers in soil, these Nano particles improve nutrient efficiency of plants. The benefit here is this, harmful and deleterious effects which may result by the use of conventional fertilizers ‘ll be minimized. One more benefit which can be obtained by the use of these nanoparticles is decontamination of ground water. Sometimes the water that is used for irrigation is full of heavy metals and many other contaminants. It not only affects plant growth but also results in destroying structure of soil as may cause salinity in soil, but also contaminates ground water. This ground water comes on the surface in hot weather and develops saline conditions in soil. Nano particles are inserted in these ground waters. They act as Nano membranes which change these contaminants in less toxic forms and hence toxicity of ground water ‘ll be minimized.

Nano sensors may also be used. They’ll help in estimating the requirement of water by crop, quality of food and its safety. Nanoparticles may be synthesized by microbes. They capture metal ions from the environment and change them into elemental atom by cell activities. Through this way less will be cost and it’ll be environmental friendly. Some nanoparticles can also enhance activities of microbes as Titanium dioxide nanoparticles enhance activity of plant growth promoting rhizobacteria. PGPR are microbes present in rhizosphere and are directly in contact with roots. Some of them are in symbiotic association with plants. Some are free living. Some fixes nitrogen as Rhizobia. Some solubilizes phosphorous as Pseudomonas and Azotobacter. Some solubilizes Zinc and increase its availability to crops as Bacillus and Azotobacter. These PGPR protects plants again biotic and abiotic stress situations. These microbes are present in rhizosphere. Usually the supplied bacterial population declines rapidly as they are applied in rhizosphere so there is a need to maintain their activity in rhizosphere. Nanoparticles provide microbes favorable environment and enhance their availability to crops and as a result obviously production ’ll increase.

Nanotechnology is a great solution for various such problems. It is highly beneficial in the area as like waste management, water conservation and solar power generation. Excess amount of fertilizers cause water pollution. Nanotechnology is a remedy to these issues.

Poverty is one of the least discussed issues in Pakistan. Although Pakistan is an Agricultural country but according to poverty line, almost 60% of people in Pakistan are poor. We use excess amount of fertilizers for Agriculture which increase production cost and poor people can’t afford this food, on the other hand also results in environmental issues. Nanotechnology is a remedy to all these problems. It will increase production by inexpensive ways and poverty rate will also decrease.

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