Nanotechnology for sustainable biofertilizers and sustainable fertilizers
Innovation pathway relevant to
Organic fertilizer manufacturers
Background & introduction
Increasing concerns over the use of chemical fertilizers for soil, environment and human health have enabled several farmers to explore natural fertilization techniques such as use of organic and biofertilizers.
While natural fertilizers are well known for their long term benefits for soil nutrition management, their contribution to crop yields is low compared to mineral fertilizers.
One of the emerging technologies to enhance the efficacy of natural fertilizers is the use of nanotechnology. Nanomaterials can increase crop yield by increasing fertilizer nutrient availability in soil and nutrient uptake by plants.
What are the key sustainability benefits?
Nanomaterials improve the productivity of crops and efficiently regulate the delivery of nutrients to plants and targeted sites, guaranteeing the minimal usage of agrochemicals. They also reduce the negative environmental impacts caused by the use of conventional agro chemicals.
How does this work?
Nanomaterials incite the plant root and leaf surface, which are the main nutrient gateways of plant systems and are highly porous at the nanoscale. They utilize various ion channels which lead to higher nutrient uptake by crop plants. Smart nanofertilizers such as polymer coated fertilizers avoid premature contact with soil and water owing to thin coating encapsulation of nanoparticles such as leading to negligible loss of nutrients.
Nano-Fertilizers for Sustainable Crop Production under Changing Climate
Experts find nanofertilizer FertiGroe increases nutrient, reduces production costs of sugarcane
Experts at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) are currently testing nano fertilizer in order to increase the yield of agricultural crops, including sugarcane, rice, corn, and vegetables.
Agronomic fortification of food grains could be used to compensate micronutrient levels in grains but it leads to nutrient wastage as well as environmental pollution resulting from excessive use of minerals and fertilizers.
Researchers from the Palm Oil Research Center (PPKS) conducted research on nano fertilizer in oil palm plantations, for the application of slow-release fertilizers (especially for the NPK nutrient element) and increasing the solubility and dispersibility of micronutrient minerals (nano and submicron nano-nano fertilizers).