Open access peer-reviewed chapter

Recent Advances in Nano-Enabled Fertilizers towards Sustainable Agriculture and Environment: A Mini Review

Written By

Challa Gangu Naidu, Yarraguntla Srinivasa Rao, Dadi Vasudha and Kollabathula Vara Prasada Rao

Submitted: January 27th, 2022 Reviewed: February 4th, 2022 Published: March 11th, 2022

DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.103053

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Food creation be directed expand uniquely to take care of the developing human populace; however, this should be accomplished while at the same time decreasing unfriendly natural effects. In such manner, there is expanding interest in the utilization of nanomaterials as composts for further developing plant mineral sustenances that are crippling Indian agriculture. To address these problems, there is a need to explore one of the frontier technologies like nano-technology to precisely detect and deliver correct quantity of nutrients that promote the productivity. Nano-technology uses synthesized materials that are 10–9 nm in size to improve the productivity, yield and crop quality. Research has proved beyond doubt that the nano-fertilizers that contain readily available nutrients in nano-scale have increased uptake, absorption and improved bioavailability in the plant body compared to the conventional bulk equivalents. This audit assesses the current writing on ENMs utilized as pesticides and manures, and features basic information holes that should be addressed to guarantee maintainable use of nanotechnology in horticulture to accomplish worldwide food security. Designing nanoparticles-based nanofertilizers offer advantages in crop nourishment of the board by upgrading abiotic stress resilience and improving farming efficiency towards the advancement of brilliant and supportable future horticulture.


  • fertilizers
  • nanotechnology
  • nanomaterials
  • nanofertilizers
  • plant nutrition

1. Introduction

The ascent in worldwide populace, joined with further developed pay also dietary changes, is driving a consistently expanding food request that is relied upon to ascend by 70% in 2050 [1]. Agriculture is the significant wellspring of food and feed for people and homegrown creatures. In any case, rural yield bugs, environmental change occasions like dry spell, and low supplement use productivity are critical deterrents to accomplishing worldwide food security [2]. More than 22,000 types of plant microbes, weeds, bugs and vermin are assaulting ranch produce globally [3]. Annually, China also the United States use around 1806 and 386 a huge number of kilograms of pesticides, individually. However, financial misfortunes brought about by crop infections and vermin in the United States are assessed at a few billions of dollars every year. In the United States, endeavors to battle contagious microbes alone surpass $600 million for every annum [4, 5]. This degree of financial misfortune also shortcoming in food creation keep on frustrating endeavors pointed towards accomplishing and keeping up with food security [4]. The board of plant infections and nuisances is especially difficult, both as far as ideal recognizable proof of infection and because of the predetermined number of administration choices.

The best methodology among the regular techniques for illness the board procedures is the turn of events of host opposition crop varieties [6]. However, not all crops intrinsically have obstruction qualities against pathogenic infections what’s more there keeps on being huge cultural disquiet over hereditarily changed food sources. These sources contain like copper, manganese along with zinc as a micro elemental metals in farm safeguard. Nonetheless, based on viability of regular compost having specific revisions obstructed, due to existence of minimum supplement required in which would be impartial solubility [7, 8]. There has been interest in the utilization of nanotechnology in horticulture for almost 15 years, in spite of the fact that effective application has been to some degree tricky. By the by, the utilization of designed nanomaterials (ENMs) in plant infection the executives and soil treatment has earned expanded interest as of late, with different reports illustrating critical potential. Various ENMs have been accounted for to further develop development, improve supplement use proficiency, and stifle sicknesses in plants in nursery tests and a modest number of field trials [9, 10] also, the utilization of ENMs as an expected option in the insurance of plants against bugs and weeds is acquiring interest, albeit hardly any investigations have been led in this area [11]. This audit assesses current potential open doors for the utilization of ENMs in horticulture, zeroing in on nanotechnology-empowered manures and pesticides (counting microbicides, bug sprays and herbicides), from now on alluded to as nanofertilizers and nanopesticides. A number of the detailed articles were fundamentally assessed in view of the adequacy of ENMs utilized in the examination, the trial plan, possible ecological effects, and relative correlation with traditional business items. Notwithstanding reviewing the current writing, a conversation of potential instruments of activity is incorporated (Figures 15), just as points of view on information holes to be filled, before the effective what’s more economical use of nanotechnology in farming.

Figure 1.

Schematic representation approach for distribution and accumulation of nanofertilizers in crops.

Figure 2.

Schematic portrayal of the conceivable take-up system, aggregation, and circulation of nanofertilizers in crops.

Figure 3.

Techniques for the union of nanofertilizers. Physical (hierarchical), synthetic (base up) and natural drew closer for the development of nanofertilizers.

Figure 4.

Systems of activity of nanobiofertilizers in crops. A graph showing the major useful impacts of nanobiofertilizers.

Figure 5.

Benefits and constraints of nanofertilizers. A right utilization of nanofertilizers to further develop crop yields needs before market execution a cautious assessment not just of their benefits for the physiology of plants, yet in addition of their expected impediments for the climate and human wellbeing its societical impact.

The agriculture area today is confronting an exceptional strain for accomplishing extensive effectiveness in food security utilizing options to synthetic manures [12]. New methodologies and advancements are required in the event that worldwide agricultural creation and request are to be satisfied in a financially and naturally supportable way.

Materials that are of up to 100 nm molecule size in somewhere around one aspect are for the most part delegated nanomaterials [13, 14, 15] and are the reason for nanotechnology [15]. Different sorts of various metals are consisting of their nanotechnological applications [16, 17, 18, 19].

Given the novel properties of nanomaterials for example, high surface-to-volume proportion, controlled-discharge energy to designated destinations and sorption limit, nanotechnology has a high significance for the plan and utilization of new manures [8].

Nanofertilizers are supplements exemplified/covered with nanomaterial for the control and slow conveyance of at least one supplements to fulfill the objective supplement prerequisites of plants [20]. These “brilliant composts” are right now being viewed as a promising option [21], to the limit that they are in a few cases viewed as the favored type of manures over the customary ones [22, 23].


2. Nanofertilizer in plant development and improvement

Plants need a few fundamental supplements (macronutrients and micronutrients) for solid development and yield. Assuming there is lacking one of those fundamental parts, then, at that point, the plant will be unable to develop from the seed appropriately. Be that as it may, the presence of an overabundance measure of supplements can likewise hurt plants. A satisfactory inventory of these supplements to fulfill the needs of the essential cell process is a difficult matter. Consequently, a legitimate and explicit conveyance of supplements is severely needed for plants to finish their life cycle. At the point when the mineral supplements were consumed by the plant have many capacities to play in the plant’s body. They can assist with making and arrange plant tissue. They are the constituents of different proteins, colors, catalysts, and engaged with cell flagging and digestion. Till now 17 components (N, P, K, H, B, C, O, Mg, S, Cl, Ca, Mn, Fe, Ni, Cu, Zn, Mo) have been recognized as fundamental supplements for plant development and advancement. Among them, nitrate, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium are significant fundamental components required by the plant. They cannot be assimilated straightforwardly from the climate, yet plant retains them through their roots. In this manner, the nanoscale-aspect of nanofertilizers has turned into an innovative arrangement for supplement lack issues. Nanofertilizers are made out of a few nanoparticles including metal oxides, carbon based, also other nanoporous materials changing upon their synthesis and mix properties. It tends to be integrated by hierarchical (physical), base up (compound), and organic methodologies [14].

Nanofertilizers have turned into an incredible option for soil the executives to decrease the over-use of ordinary composts. Furthermore, the sluggish delivery component is offering the chance for utilizes as per development and natural status. Besides, nanofertilizers have shown incredible reaction to provoke plant development and usefulness yet take-up, movement, and gathering of utilizing nanoparticles is as yet not yet distinct.

2.1 Benefits of nanofertilizers

There is a developing strain on the agribusiness area to satisfy the persistently expanding requests of the reliably developing human populace. Synthetic manures are believed to be key for further developing yield efficiency and are widely applied through various techniques. Notwithstanding, crop use is by and large not exactly 50% of the applied measure of manure, and the excess measure of minerals expected to arrive at the designated site might filter down, so that they become fixed in soil or add to water contamination. It has been accounted for that key macronutrient components, including N, P, and K, applied to the dirt are lost by 40–70%, 80–90% also 50–90%, separately [18], causing a significant loss of assets Besides, producers will quite often utilize rehashed uses of these manures to accomplish wanted more significant returns, which conversely can prompt a lessening in soil ripeness and increment salt focuses in this way causing future yield misfortunes. Besides, lopsided use of treatment without control on supplement delivery can weaken item quality. Consequently, it is urgent to grow slow/control discharge composts not exclusively to build crop creation and quality, yet in addition to improve the supportability in green creation. Nanofertilizer applications in farming might fill in as an open door to accomplish maintainability towards worldwide food creation. There is a huge food creation strain on the area as healthful lacks in human populaces are essentially a direct result of utilizing less nutritious food and a low dietary admission of products of the soil [18]. Significant advantages of nanofertilizers over traditional synthetic composts depend on their supplement conveyance framework [12]. They control the accessibility of supplements in crops through sluggish/control discharge instruments. Such a sluggish conveyance of supplements is related with the covering or solidifying of supplements with nanomaterials [10]. By taking benefit of this sluggish supplement conveyance, cultivators can build their crop development due to reliably long haul conveyance of supplements to plants. For instance, supplements can be delivered north of 40–50 days in a sluggish discharge style rather than the 4–10 days by the traditional manures [11]. In traditional supplement the board frameworks, a big part of the applied compost is lost in draining or becomes inaccessible for the plant on the grounds that of extreme accessibility preventing the roots to take-up or in some cases causing poisonous impacts on the plant. Besides, nanofertilizers diminish the requirement for transportation and application costs. Another benefit of utilizing little amounts is that the dirt does not get stacked with salts that typically are inclined to over-application utilizing regular composts on a short-or long haul premise. One more benefit for utilizing nanofertilizers is that they can be blended by the supplement necessities of expected yields. In such manner, biosensors can be appended to another inventive compost that controls the conveyance of the supplements as per soil supplement status, development time of a crop or natural conditions. Plants are touchy towards micronutrient accessibility during crop development and adverse consequences result as leafy foods with helpless nourishment. In regular supplement the executives framework, it is undeniably challenging to control the micronutrient conveyance to a particular yield, yet nanofertilizers give the open door to the producers for providing satisfactory measures of supplements [8].

For example, the majority of the plant developing regions overall are insufficient in specific micronutrients (for example Zn and Fe), so nanofertilizers can go about as powerful and proficient stronghold items for crop and new food items. Nanofertilzers increment the bioavailability of supplements through their high explicit surface region, smaller than normal size and high reactivity [12]. Then again, by giving adjusted sustenance, nanofertilizers empower the plant to battle different biotic and abiotic stresses, with by and large clear benefits [20, 21]. Nonetheless, the broad utilization of nanofertilizers in farming might have a few significant constraints, which should likewise be thought of and will be talked about later in detail.

2.2 Micronutrient nanofertilizers

Micronutrients are those components that are needed by the plant in follow/low amounts, however are fundamental to keep up with essential metabolic processes in plants [22, 23, 24, 25, 26]. Plant development is profoundly subject to zinc (Zn) since it is a primary part or administrative co-factor for different chemicals furthermore proteins [27]. This micronutrient is likewise engaged with the blend of carbs, protein digestion, and the guideline of auxins, and gives guard to plants against hurtful microbes [28]. Then again, boron (B) is not just engaged with the biosynthesis of plant cell divider and its lignification, yet additionally assumes a significant part in plant development and different other physiological cycles [29]. Subsequently, those are having basic nature legitimate measures the metallic (B and Zn) properties of accomplishing greatest recoveries with great assessment of their productivity [30]. Agriculture applications—i.e. additionally announced with respect to filled seeding in supplement arrangement in addition to elastic sort expanded through natural product recovery contrasted [31, 32]. Additionally, it was noticed an impressive yield increment utilizing Zn nanoparticles as a supplement source in rice, maize, wheat, potato, sugarcane and sunflower [15]. In addition, settled maghemite nanoparticles applied through water system in arrangement structure in soil as a nanofertilizer further developed the development rate and chlorophyll substance contrasted with the control (chelated iron) in Brassica napus[33]. Iron (Fe) is additionally a significant supplement needed by plants in minute amounts for keeping up with appropriate development and advancement. In spite of the fact that it is needed in follow sums, its lack or abundance prompts impedance in key plant metabolic and physiological cycles, accordingly prompting diminished yield [34, 35, 36, 37].

2.3 Limitation of nanofertilizers

With regards to practical agribusiness, late advancement is without a doubt seeing the effective utilization of some nanofertilizers for accomplishing upgraded crop efficiency. Be that as it may, the intentional presentation of this innovation in rural exercises could result in numerous accidental non-reversible results [13]. In this situation, new natural and accidental wellbeing security issues can restrict the utilization of this innovation in plant harvests’ efficiency. Nanomaterial phytotoxicity is likewise an issue in such manner since various plants react distinctively to different nanomaterials in a portion subordinate way [38, 39, 40, 41, 42]. Consequently, it is urgent to think about the benefits of nanofertilizers, yet additionally their restrictions before market execution. Bioavailability just as accidental ecological effects upon openness to natural frameworks, limit their acknowledgment to reception in practical farming and the agriculture areas [8]. Hazard evaluation furthermore risk recognizable proof of the nanomaterials including nanomaterial or then again compost life cycle evaluation are basic just as building up needs for toxicological exploration. This is especially evident considering the amassing of nanoparticles in plants and potential wellbeing concerns. For sure, the utilization of nanofertilizers got from nanomaterials have raised genuine worries connected with sanitation, human and food security.


3. Conclusions and future prospects

Nanofertilizers have a huge effect in the horticulture area for accomplishing improved usefulness and protection from abiotic stresses. Consequently, encouraging uses of nanofertilizers in the agrifood biotechnology what’s more cultivation areas cannot be ignored. Besides, the possible advantages of nanofertilizers have invigorated a incredible interest to expand the creation capability of rural harvests under the current environmental change situation. The fundamental financial advantages of the utilization of nanofertilizers are decreased draining and volatilization related with the utilization of customary manures. At the same time, the notable positive effect on yield and item quality has a gigantic potential to expand producers’ net revenue through the use of this innovation. Notwithstanding, regardless of the intriguing results of nanofertilizers in the field of farming, up until this point, their significance has not however been engaged towards attractiveness. Vulnerability connected with the cooperation of nanomaterials with the climate and expected impacts on human wellbeing should be investigated exhaustively prior to spreading nanofertilizers at a business scale. Future investigations should be centered around creating extensive information in these underexplored regions in request to present this clever wilderness in maintainable agribusiness. Thusly, nanofertilizer application wellbeing and the investigation of the harmfulness of various nanoparticles utilized for nanofertilizer creation should be an examination need. Besides, a top to bottom assessment of the impact of nanofertilizers in the dirts with various physio-substance properties is fundamental to suggest a particular nanofertilizer for a particular yield and soil type. Biosynthesized nanoparticles-based composts and nanobiofertilizers ought to be investigated further as a promising innovation to further develop yields while accomplishing supportability.



The researchers express their gratitude to Vignan’s Institute of Information Technology (VIIT) and Vignan’s Institute of Pharmaceutical Technology (VIPT) for their inspiration and for sharing the article for publication.


Conflict of interest

There are no conflicts of interest declared by the authors.


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Written By

Challa Gangu Naidu, Yarraguntla Srinivasa Rao, Dadi Vasudha and Kollabathula Vara Prasada Rao

Submitted: January 27th, 2022 Reviewed: February 4th, 2022 Published: March 11th, 2022