The branch of technology that deals with dimensions and tolerances of less than 100 nanometers, especially the manipulation of individual atoms and molecule.
By GHULAM MUSTAFA
From previous many years uses of nanotechnology are being seen in many fields of life like pharmaceutical industry, purifying the water, military purposes, construction etc.
A number of insect pests are associated with the agricultural crops. These insect pests causes the loss of billion rupees annually. From many years to control the insect pests of crops traditional pesticides are being used. No doubt that these chemicals suppress the pest level and boost up the per acre yield of crops but their residual toxicity pose hazardous effects at the environment, human being as well as at other living organisms.
Among different applications, nanotechnology has ability to modernize the agriculture sector. It is a diverse field of research which deals with the particles having size range from 1 to 100 nm. This field brought changes in agriculture by introducing the effective methods to control the pests. Different types of nanoparticles are used to protect the plants from insect pests in agriculture. Different formulations such as nano emulsions, nano capsules and products enclosing nanoparticles like metals oxides and Nano clays have been used to control the insects. Nano pesticides control the amount of chemicals through the application of accurate amount of active ingredients
Nanoparticles can be synthesized by physical, chemical and biological method. Biological method also referred as green method involving the utilization of microorganisms and plant extracts for the synthesis of the nanoparticles which are cost effective and harmless to the environment. The plant extracts convert metals into nanoparticles with the aid of alkaloids, phenolic acids, polyphenols, proteins and terpinoids which act as capping and reducing agents.
Silver nanoparticles prepared from neem extract and silver metal are successfully used to control the mosquitoes. These NPs provide better control over other chemicals and are harmless to environment.
Whitefly which is a notorious sucking insect pest of many crops, is controlled by zinc oxide nanoparticles which are prepared by zinc nitrate and Beauveria bassiana fungus. This experiment showed that as we increase the concentration of nanoparticles, better control occurs.
Likewise diamondback moth, pink boll worm are also controlled by silicon oxide nanoparticles successfully. Furthermore research at nano based technology is going on and we shall get better results in future to modernize the agriculture.