However, despite the public acceptance, we must remember that we have little understanding of the fate, transport, and behavior of engineered nanoparticles in the environment including soils and the hydrosphere outside of their original commercial or industrial domains. At our current level of knowledge, it is difficult to predict the potential environmental impacts of nanoparticles. To be successful in the novel emerging field of agricultural nanotechnology, human resources must be well trained to experiment, innovate, assess, interpret, and successfully assimilate the theory, tools, and techniques of nanotechnology for its application in agriculture.
Presently, nanotechnology is taught in several engineering and traditional institutions at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Their curricula and degree programs cater to the needs of industry and industry-oriented institutions. Nanotechnology teaching programs in engineering and traditional institutions do not train their students to handle the issues critical to agriculture.
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For example, the intricate relationships that interplay in the components of life ie, soil, plants, animals, and humans and the effect of nanomaterials on the food chains, the food web, and farm wastes do not get sufficient coverage in the courses run by technical institutions.
There is an urgent need to develop human resources with an understanding of the complexities of the agricultural production system to serve nanotechnology applications in agriculture successfully. By and large, agricultural education has not been able to attract sufficient numbers of brilliant minds the world over, while personnel from kindred disciplines might lack an understanding of agricultural production systems. Instruction programs in agricultural nanotechnology, if initiated, might fill this void by fulfilling the twin goals of attracting brilliant learners and developing a body of skilled farm-focused personnel.
The opportunity for application of nanotechnology in agriculture is prodigious. Research on the applications of nanotechnology in agriculture is less than a decade old. Nevertheless, as conventional farming practices become increasingly inadequate, and needs have exceeded the carrying capacity of the terrestrial ecosystem, we have little option but to explore nanotechnology in all sectors of agriculture.
It is well recognized that adoption of new technology is crucial in accumulation of national wealth. Revisiting our understanding of the theoretical foundations of the agricultural production system along the geosphere pedosphere -biosphere-atmosphere continuum coupled with application of advanced theories like the theory of chaos and string theory may open up new avenues. Nanotechnology requires a thorough understanding of science, as well as fabrication and material technology, in conjunction with knowledge of the agricultural production system.
The rigor of this challenge might attract brilliant minds to choose agriculture as a career. To achieve success in the field, human resources need sophisticated training, for which new instruction programs, especially at the graduate level, are urgently needed. The editors of Nature estimated that any technology takes some 20 years to emerge from the laboratory and be commercialized. For this to happen, sustained funding and understanding on the part of policy planners and science administrators, along with reasonable expectations, would be crucial for this nascent field to blossom.
National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal List Nanotechnol Sci Appl v. Nanotechnol Sci Appl. Published online Aug 4. Siddhartha S Mukhopadhyay. Author information Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Keywords: clay minerals, crop production, crop protection, nanotechnology, nanocomposites, nanofabrication, nanotechnology, farming, food.
Introduction Historically, agriculture preceded the industrial revolution by around 90 centuries. Defining nanotechnology in agriculture Nanotechnology is defined by the US Environmental Protection Agency 19 as the science of understanding and control of matter at dimensions of roughly 1— nm, where unique physical properties make novel applications possible. Limits of conventional farming Recent agricultural practices associated with the Green Revolution have greatly increased the global food supply.
Advantages of nanomaterials over corresponding bulk materials At the nanoscale, matter shows extraordinary properties that are not shown by bulk materials. Distinctiveness of the agricultural production system The government reports and reviews published so far have not highlighted either the uniqueness of the agricultural production system as compared with industry, or its variations according to cultural-specific and place-specific features, or the direction of development of field-centric farming.
Nanotechnology in agriculture for security of livelihoods There is unanimity in recognizing the role of nanotechnology in agriculture, especially with regard to improvement of livelihood among the poor in third world nations. Nanofabrications in agriculture Nanofabrication could be defined as the design and manufacture of devices that measure dimensions in nanometers.
Open in a separate window. Public acceptance of nanotechnology Application of nanotechnology is essential, given the millions of people worldwide who continue to lack access to safe water, reliable sources of energy, health care, education, and other basic human development needs. Human resource requirements To be successful in the novel emerging field of agricultural nanotechnology, human resources must be well trained to experiment, innovate, assess, interpret, and successfully assimilate the theory, tools, and techniques of nanotechnology for its application in agriculture.
Conclusion The opportunity for application of nanotechnology in agriculture is prodigious. Footnotes Disclosure The author reports no conflicts of interest in this work. References 1. Roco MC. Towards a US national nanotechnology initiative. J Nanopart Res. Nanoforum Nanotechnology in Agriculture and Food. A Nanoforum report, Kuzma J, VerHage P. Scott N, Chen H. Nanoscale science and engineering for agriculture and food systems. Industrial Biotechnology. Applications of nanomaterials in agricultural production and crop protection: a review.
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