Advancements of nanotechnologies in crop promotion and soil fertility: Benefits, life cycle assessment, and legislation policies

Sherif A. Younis, Ki Hyun Kim, Sabry M. Shaheen, Vasileios Antoniadis, Yiu Fai Tsang, Jörg Rinklebe, Akash Deep, Richard J.C. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Increasing agricultural production has become one of the key components to bridge the gap between securing food resources and sustainable development goals (SDGs), namely, no poverty, zero hunger, preservation of natural resources (water and energy), combating climate change and its impacts, and halting the loss of biodiversity in terrestrial ecosystems. In this regard, the crucial role of nanotechnology in modern farming is emphasized as an efficient means to develop “precision farming” systems. It can play a potent role in promoting sustainable agriculture, improving nutrient utilization, and mitigating climate change and environmental pollution. Particularly, nanotechnology-enabled products such as “smart nano-delivery capsules” offer new opportunities for controlled slow release of diverse deliverables (e.g., pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, and micronutrients) in compliance with the needs of plants under specific environmental stimuli responses. In this framework, this review explores the basic properties, application benefits, and future directions of nanotechnology in agricultural economics, particularly for promoting crop growth and soil reclamation under the umbrella of SDG targets. All obstacles for applying agri-nanotech products (agri-NPs) in farming have been identified and discussed, considering their life cycle assessment (LCA) in soil and plants. Emphasis has been made on evaluating the impacts of various nanotech products on crop growth in reference to traditional market technologies. Besides, this review work discusses the benefits of nanobiochar and nanobubbles as viable alternative natural nanotech products to promote crop physiology, alleviate environmental pollution, and sequester carbon in the soil. This work also summarizes the technical aspects associated with the conversion of agricultural biomass wastes into affordable biofuels. It also highlights regulations, legislative policies, and economic outputs to strengthen the public awareness and acceptance of nanotechnologies in agro-environmental fields. The opportunities and challenges in these topics are discussed to help actively develop and implement nano-enabled products in agriculture and related industries.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111686
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Volume152
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021 Dec

Keywords

  • Biomass-to-biofuel conversion
  • Irrigation water management
  • Nanotechnologies
  • Regulation policies
  • Soil reclamation
  • Sustainable agriculture

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