Nanotechnology for precision agriculture

L. Estrada Porras, E. Gonzalez
Pontificia Universidad Javeriana,

Keywords: nanotechnology, nanoencasulation,crops, controlled delivery, nanomaterials, environmental health


Agricultural practices have benefited considerably due to new implementations derived from emerging technologies in efficient use of fertilizers and autonomous real-time monitoring and sensing capabilities. [1-3]; However, the application of fertilizers or agrochemicals to control plages still present some difficulties in terms of space-time control of transport and release. These problems limit the scope of precision agriculture whitin the context of sustainable practices [4-7]. The potato (Solanum tuberosum) is the third most important food crop in the world after rice and wheat in terms of human consumption. More than a billion people around the world eat potatoes, and the total global production is about 300 million metric tons [8]. There are, however, serious problems in the cultivation of this tuber, specifically with the practices of incorporation of chemical fertilizers (NPK) that produce a low cation exchange capacity, and the potato plant loses the capacity to assimilate the NPK units. The phosphorus that can not be assimilated by the plant, accumulates in the soil, increasing salinity and conductivity, aspects that produce important damages for the harvest cycles. This raises the need to develop methodologies and products of controlled and systematized delivery of phosphorus to improve the production and sustainable management of crop soils. Based on a scientific-technological vigilance study carried out on the application of nutrients - specifically phosphorus in potato crops -, the main problems and difficulties encountered in the dosing, application and management of these chemical substances were identified. Based on these results, strategies based on phosphorus nanoencasulation to obtain sufficient control in the transport and controlled delivery processes are proposed. Studies of diffusion and absorption of the nutrient by the roots of potato plants are carried out. This type of encapsulation strategies, as well as the understanding of the transport dynamics and absorption of nutrients in plants, allow us to improve efficiency and quality in the harvest product without environmental impact and damage to the cultivation soils.