Part of today’s most interesting set of technology headlines involves the application of nanotechnology to agriculture.
Journalists and others are talking about Aqua-Yield, a new product that promises to help with the logistics of fertilizing with manufactured compounds called nanoliquids.
Using nanoparticles smaller than a blood cell, the company is able to produce items that can help with a plant’s digestion of nutrients like phosphorus.
The efficiencies are not minuscule – Mike Dandrea at KXNet reports that using this nanoliquid could change the timeline for plant intake of phosphorus from up to a year to under 36 hours, and reduce an average volume of applied fertilizer from a gallon to an ounce.
This, planners say, could lead to less runoff in an age where stormwater and groundwater pollution are increasing concerns for municipalities.
In addition to dovetailing with some of our biggest ecological goals, through the processes of encapsulation and inputs, these nanoliquids can help to get more of the building blocks that plants need into their systems, maximizing the yields and agricultural outcomes. Some refer to these processes as chelation, or “plant digestion,” and farmers understand the importance of this biological process.
As pointed out in internal Aqua-Yield resources published online, these are “not chemicals, not fertilizers” and “definitely not seeds” – instead, they are products made with cutting-edge technology that may help define how we grow food for the world in the latter part of the 21st century.
“Aqua-Yield® nanoparticles quickly penetrate plant barriers and are easily absorbed before washing away, physical tie-up interactions, or leaching away, so growers won’t lose their investment to environmental losses,” reads a broadside by Aqua-Yield Marketing Director Jenny Phillips. “Growers can get more out of their crop input efficiencies while also having the ability to reduce costs. They can treat more acres with fewer trips and have less material to handle. Good for the grower, good for the environment.”
Look for these types of innovations to change the ways that we farm as arable land becomes a scarcer commodity.