India Raichur Agri Scientists Use Nanotech to Make Eco-Friendly Insecticide More Effective
Jul. 6, 2017
The bacterium Photorhabdus luminescens is used as a biocontrol agent against a wide range of crop pests, like mite, aphid and mealy bugs. Researchers at the University of Agricultural Sciences in Raichur, Karnataka, have converted the secretion of P. luminescens into nanoparticles and found that its efficacy improved significantly. The nanoparticulate form has been tested against two sucking pests of cotton – a mite, Tetranychus macfarlanei, and an aphid, Aphis gossypii.
The researchers reported their findings through a paper published in the journal Current Science on July 10. They wrote that a “high mortality coupled with quick action emphasises the potential of nanotechnology in enhancing the pathogenicity of a microbial pesticide.” They had also found that the nanoparticle form of the secretion was lethal to pests at concentrations upto a million times lower than its unprocessed form – a feature that could translate into crucial savings for farmers.
Notably, the solutions are not as potent as synthetically manufactured chemicals – but could now be with the nanoparticle option in the picture. “We have proved that it is possible to substantially enhance the efficacy of biopesticides. We need to conduct more studies to figure what is the best form in which it could be delivered to the users: whether it should be as a powder or a solution or in some other form,” said A. Prabhuraj, one of the scientists involved in the study. He and his team converted the secretions into nanoparticles using a multi-stage process involving culturing, processing with a centrifuge, ultrasonic-assisted atomising and finally a hot air-assisted vacuum process. The final output was in the form of a fine dry powder.