Polymers, Colloids & Interfaces, Short talk

Developing A Safe by Design Nanoagrochemical

F. Schwab1, M. Maceroni1, M. H. El-Shetehy2, L. Ackermann-Hirschi1, A. Moradi2, F. Mauch2, B. Rothen-Rutishauser1, A. Petri-Fink1
1Adolphe Merkle Institute, 2University of Fribourg

Safe by Design nano-agrochemicals promise higher efficiency than conventional pesticides, and therefore have a high potential in reducing the pollution penalty of these products. However, much has to be learned about the gain of efficiency compared to conventional products, the economical and environmental costs of a large-scale production, the willingness of farmers to adopt their practice, regulations, and the risk of directly applying such new types of yield enhancers on agricultural soil.


Here, we present the results of laboratory scale experiments to develop a bioinspired nanobiostimulant and compare its effects with conventional pesticide ingredients on the agricultural legume alfalfa (lucerne, Medicago sativa) and the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. As a reference substance for conventional pesticides, the broadband fungicide tebuconazole was tested. Seed germination and infection tests, and plant growth tests as well as biochemical tests with pathogens as well as soil organism ecotoxicity tests were conducted. The release profile of the nanoparticle was quantified by an inductively coupled plasma – optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES) method developed in house [1], and its interactions with the plant were visualized in view of potential uptake and translocation using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS).

The performance of the nanobiostimulant was found to be up to twice as high as for the conventional product. The use of nanobiostimulants promises to strongly reduce the organic pesticide burden of people and the environment.

[1] Bossert, D.; Urban, D. A.; Maceroni, M.; Ackermann-Hirschi, L.; Haeni, L.; Yajan, P.; Spuch-Calvar, M.; Rothen-Ruthishauser, B.; Rodriguez-Lorenzo, L.; Petri-Fink, A.; Schwab, F., Scientific Reports, 2019, accepted