Søren Husted, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of Copenhagen
Biocompatible nanofertilizers for targeted delivery and programmed release of essential mineral ions in crops
To take advantage of the most recent breakthroughs within phyto-nanotechnology, allowing exploration and production the first generation of foliar fertilizers based on smart nanomaterials, tailored to effectively penetrate the micro- and nanoporous leaf cuticle.
Only a fraction of nutrients contained in fertilizers are takben up by crops, the rest are leached to the environment, trapped by minerals or immobilized by microorganisms in the soil. The poor efficiency of fertilization is an economic burden for farmers, causes pollution and contributes to climate change. The efficiency of fertilization has practically not improved for decades and consequently there is an urgent need to rethink the principles for crop fertilization. We will develop the first generation of nanoparticle (NP)-based fertilizers with smart properties, which will allow us to bypass the processes responsible for the poor efficiency of fertilization. Biocompatible NPs will be tailored to feed plants through the porous surface of leaves. The NPs will be provided with properties which will allow targeting to the specific sites where the nutrients enter metabolism. Here the NPs will be programmed to release their cargo of nutrients, right at the doorstep of where they are used.
Søren Husted is receiving a grant of DKK 60 million for Biocompatible Nanofertilizers for Targeted Delivery and Programmed Release of Essential Mineral Ions in Crops.