Sunday, September 23, 2012


Innovative development that led to the emergence of nano technology has been hailed as a major break through and almost all industries including the food processing sector jumped into the band wagon without properly assessing the long term consequences of its wide scale application on the human health and environment. One of the issues that merited serious attention is about the consequences of the easy transit of nano particles through the cellular system and no clear picture has still emerged whether this would pose real dangers to human beings. Also of importance is the likely impact these nano particles of hundreds of chemicals released eventually into the environment on agriculture and animal world. In an alarming report which came out recently it is claimed that nano technology based fertilizers and nutrient products do affect the performance of plants like Soybean adversely which is a serious concern. Here is more information on this alarming development.

"Manufactured nanomaterials (MNMs), manmade materials with at least one dimension less than 100 nm, are increasingly used in consumer goods (e.g., sunscreens, fuels, and paints), and thus are entering the atmosphere and soil. Some MNMs stress the cells of plants, causing growth inhibition, MNM uptake, DNA damage, and death. For instance, hydroponically grown plants (i.e., plants grown in mineral nutrient solutions) are damaged when they accumulate some MNMs. Also, some MNM-exposed soil microbial communities become less diverse. Therefore, soil-grown food crops could be impacted by MNMs, although there is a lack of direct evidence. We studied soybean growth from planting through seed production in farm soil to which MNMs were added. For two high-production MNMs, we observed the bio-accumulation of MNM metals and the cessation of symbiotic nitrogen fixation".

The tendency for these nano particles to accumulate in water and soil and pass into agricultural system is really alarming. Added to this some plants show that their cells can retain some of the nano particles and such bio-accumulation interferes with normal functioning of many growth functions of the plant. Most alarming is that nitrogen fixation which typical in the case of leguminous plants is interfered with which may have far reaching implications on soil fertility restoration. These aspects need further critical study and earlier this is done better it will be for the planet. With practically no control or oversight regarding the use of nano technology by many industries, the devastating effect of increased contamination of food and environment is only a matter of time!


No comments: