Agriculture - Overview - Products - Text

First generation nanoproducts included titanium dioxide to improve crop performance and carbon nanotubes. Titanium dioxide was found to stimulate certain enzymes, enhance chlorophyll content and photosynthesis, promote nutrient uptake, strengthen stress tolerance and improve crop yield and quality. Conversely, extensive application of titanium dioxide nanoparticles caused damage to some organisms (e.g., DNA damage, decreased growth) and, therefore, impacts food chains and wider ecosystems. Carbon nanotubes can improve crop yield, but can also be toxic to plants.1  

Nanomaterials have been developed to encapsulate and deliver an active ingredient or change the chemistry of an ingredient. For example, a plant protection product can be made more compatible with fertilizers that are applied at the same time. These nanoproducts are still under development.2 

Nanomaterials have also been developed to combine different technologies into complex formulations. For example, RNA delivered to plants by nanoscale clay materials to help control plant pathogens and pests in an efficient and specific way. In this way, unwanted effects on the host or non-target organisms can be minimised.3,4

At present, due to the relatively large development costs involved, agricultural nanoproducts are most applicable to high value crops in developed countries. In the future, nanomaterials could help provide solutions to issues such as resistance to pesticides or new crop diseases.



European Union Observatory for Nanomaterials (EUON). (n.d.). Food. Available at: 

Chaudhary, I., & Singh, V. (2020). Titanium dioxide nanoparticles and its impact on growth, biomass and yield of agricultural crops under environmental stress: A review. Research Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, 10, 1–8.

Lubick, N. (2021). How environmental scientist Melanie Kah changed her mind about nanopesticides. C&EN. Available at: 

Rudakiya, D., Patel, Y., Chhaya, U., & Gupte, A. (2019). Carbon Nanotubes in Agriculture: Production, Potential, and Prospects. Nanotechnology for Agriculture, 121-130.