Applications of Nanotechnology in agriculture [Mechanical engineering]

Applications of Nanotechnology in agriculture

Looks at Potential Applications, Benefits and Risks

WASHINGTON—Thanks to nanotechnology, tomorrow’s food will be designed by shaping molecules and atoms. Food will be wrapped in “smart” safety packaging that can detect spoilage or harmful contaminants. Future products will enhance and adjust their color, flavor, or nutrient content to accommodate each consumer’s taste or health needs. And in agriculture, nanotechnology promises to reduce pesticide use, improve plant and animal breeding, and create new nano-bioindustrial products.

The Helmut Kaiser Consultancy estimates that the nanotech food market is growing rapidly and will reach over $20 billion by 2010—about three times its current size. A recent study by Cientifica found over 150 nanotechnology applications in the food industry at present, with some of the world’s biggest companies—like Altria, Nestle, Kraft, Heinz and Unilever—involved in nanotechnology research and development.

The U.S. government is investing in nanotech agrifood as a part of its annual $1.2 billion nanotechnology research budget. A new report, Nanotechnology in Agriculture and Food Production: Anticipated Applications, for the first time analyzes the publicly available data on federally funded research projects in agrifood nanotechnology, supplemented with data from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.



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