Indian Council of Agricultural Research is launching a new initiative “Consortia Research Platform on Nanotechnology”in the XII Plan to facilitate researchers in all branches of agriculture, including basic sciences, to bring in novel ideas and experiments to prove Dr S. Ayyappan, Secretary (DARE) and Director General (ICAR) their hypotheses, leading to practical applications. The nanotechnology platform would accelerate research activities by providing appropriate state-of-art facilities at the selected research institutes, which will be accessible to all concerned for necessary capacity- building activity also. While ICAR has the expertise in developing standard operating practices on biotech products for conducting laboratory and field trials, efforts are, however, nascent in testing nano-particles of agricultural importance to build a consensus in the society on their commercial use and viability. Here is an invitation for experts from different fields to join hands in enhancing nanotechnology applications in agriculture.
We expect tangible outcomes from the “Nanotechnology Platform” proposed in the XII Plan in the form of (i) nanobased diagnostic kits/ sensors for detection of diseases and nutrient deficiencies at the field level, (ii) nano-biosensors for detection of food contaminants, (iii) nano-pheromones/ nanosensors and nano-bioformulations for control of pest and diseases, (iv) nano-agri-inputs and smart delivery systems with enhanced input-use efficiency, (v) growth monitoring sensors, (vi) nano-chips in identity preservation and tracking, (vii) nano-composite films for improving shelflife of agri-products (vegetables, fruits, processed foods), (viii) encapsulated functional ingredients for targeted delivery and, above all (ix) biosafety protocols.