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How Will Nanotechnology Help Farmers Grow Their Crops?

nano sensors

People often think of nanotechnology as futuristic and abstract, not something out in a field helping farmers care for their crops and the environment. But that’s exactly what’s happening as student animators Stephanie Bollinger and Paden Langner from Western Carolina University learned when they worked to visualize nano-enabled sensors that allow for precision agriculture. Because nanosensors are small, portable, inexpensive, and don’t require a lot of power, they’re ideal for monitoring a plant’s need for water, fertilizer, or other agrochemicals.

Nanotechnology can also be used to protect plants. Work is being done to use nanocrystals made from plant material to protect blossoms from frost or fruit on the grocery shelf from going bad too quickly. Researchers are studying the effect of delivering necessary micronutrients, like copper, directly to plants as nanoparticles. The hope is that these nutrients will help the plant better fight off infection. By using nanoparticles to transport fungicides to the inside of trunks and branches, farmers are able to more effectively treat citrus trees and grapevines.

The next time you’re enjoying a piece of fruit, or even a glass of wine, it may be in part thanks to nanotechnology. 

To learn more about nanotechnology, watch:

Article by: Dr. Quinn Spadola, Associate Director of Education and Outreach for the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure and Education and Outreach Coordinator for the Southeastern Nanotechnology Infrastructure Corridor at the Georgia Institute of Technology. 

Videos by:

Animator- Paden Langner, Composer -Tyson Butta, Narrator -Dr. David Evanoff

 

Animator - Stephanie Bollinger, Narrator- Matt Howie, Music - Jupiter the Blue by Gillicuddy (Licensed under CCBY 2.0.)