Botanicals as a Source of Nanomaterial for Pest and Disease Management
Keywords:Green synthesis, Nanomaterials, Nanotechnology, Phytosynthesis
Sustainable food production for a rapidly growing human population is one of the major challenges faced by the agriculture sector globally. Plant pests and pathogens cause significant reductions in crop production, with estimated global losses of 20-40% year-1, resulting in an increased use of environmentally toxic pesticides & fertilizers. The growing numbers of studies in nanotechnology are producing novel applications in many fields of science, especially in plant biotechnology and agriculture. Nanomaterials (NMs) have been used in breakdown of pollutants and reported worldwide for several different environmental applications. They play an important role in agriculture as nano-fertilizers and nano-pesticides, prepared by many methods such as physical, green synthesis or chemical synthesis methods. Green synthesis involves use of biological resources as microorganisms or plant extracts and doesn’t permit the use of any toxic chemicals, hence less bio-hazardous. Rate of reduction of metal ions using phytosynthesis has been observed to be much faster than microbial synthesis. Thus, it is considered as an accessible alternative for large scale production of nanomaterials, without use of chemicals. Phytosynthesized nanomaterials show excellent antibacterial effects, antifungal effects and anti-pest activity. Ocimum sanctum, Azadiracta indica, Paederia foetida, etc. had been successfully reported to be used in synthesis of many NMs of silver, gold, zinc, etc. Botanical nanomaterials offer considerable potential for increasing agricultural productivity and protection while reducing negative impacts on the environment and human health simultaneously.
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