“Nanotechnology is expected to revolutionize the sector, mainly due to its innovative potential, being one of the pillars of agriculture 4.0.”
Letícia Mazzarino is a partner and technical director of NanoScoping – Soluções em Nanotecnologia, specialist in the development of nanostructured systems for the release of active ingredients.
Mazzarino has a degree in pharmacy from the University of Passo Fundo, M.Sc., Ph.D. and post-doctorate from the Federal University of Santa Catarina.
AgriBrasilis – What is nanoencapsulation and what is it used for?
Letícia Mazzarino – Nanoencapsulation refers to the incorporation or association of active substances in structures of very small size, in the nanometric range, which goes from 1nm to 1000 nm [nm = nanometer, equivalent to 10−9 m].
The nanoencapsulation of active ingredients is used in different areas of application, from pharmaceuticals, such as medicines and cosmetics, to food and agricultural products, for example. In agriculture, the nanoencapsulation of active ingredients has been considered a promising tool in the manufacture of adjuvants, fertilizers and pesticides, since it can confer important advantages over conventional products, such as: protection of the active ingredient against degradation, reduction of volatilization, ease of mixing in the mixture, improvement in spreading and leaf coating, and prolonged release of the active ingredient, resulting in an increase in the efficiency of the product on the farm and even in the possibility of reducing the applied dose.
AgriBrasilis – How is the application of these products carried out on the farm?
Letícia Mazzarino – The products developed by NanoScoping are liquids, intended for foliar spraying, and can be applied alone, after dilution in the solution (water), or associated with other products, such as fertilizers and/or pesticides, to enhance their action.
AgriBrasilis – Aren’t smaller (nano) particles more favorable to application drift?
Letícia Mazzarino – Nanoproducts do not suffer more from drift than other products. Even so, any product used without good agricultural practices can be negatively impacted. The nanotechnology, due to the reduced size of the particles, has an excellent dispersion on the leaf, increasing the efficiency of the treatment.
AgriBrasilis – How does nanoencapsulation fit into the legislation?
Letícia Mazzarino – In Brazil, currently, there are no specific standards applied to products with nanotechnology. The government regulates products based on existing legislations related to product framework, food safety, environmental protection, and occupational health and safety, for example. However, legislation, in general, has been adjusting to adapt to technological advances: an example of this is Bill 880/2019, that aims to act as a legal framework for nanotechnology and advanced materials.
“The nanotechnology, due to the reduced size of the particles, has excellent dispersion o the leaf, increasing the efficiency of the treatment.”
AgriBrasilis – Are nanoencapsulated products used in Brazil? Are these products considered pesticides?
Letícia Mazzarino – Yes, there are already products with nanotechnology applied to agriculture in Brazil, but they are mainly biofertilizers and agricultural adjuvants.
AgriBrasilis – What are the benefits of essential oils used as agricultural adjuvants?
Letícia Mazzarino – The use of essential oils as agricultural adjuvants can be a more sustainable alternative compared to synthetic chemicals, reducing the environmental impact and chemical waste in the environment. Additionally, essential oils act as promoters of plant health due to their beneficial properties, such as their antimicrobial, antifungal and insecticidal capabilities, in addition to the stimulating action of plant growth and resistance.
AgriBrasilis – Is there potential for use in conventional agriculture, in addition to organic production?
Letícia Mazzarino – Absolutely! Nanotechnology is a very broad area of knowledge. In conventional agriculture, it is able to reduce doses and facilitate the application of agronomic protocols on the farm, especially in products that have limitations related to low solubility or degradation.
AgriBrasilis – Is the product commercially viable? What is the price to the final consumer?
Letícia Mazzarino – Products that incorporate nanotechnology usually have an added value as a result of the embedded technology. In the specific case of Nano Agro products of NanoScoping, it is observed that the high technology does not compromise competitiveness, remaining affordable due to the excellent cost-benefit ratio.
The results of the tests on the soybean crop highlighted a significant gain in yield, representing a significant benefit for farmers. When considering commercial viability, it is essential to consider not only the cost of the product itself, but also the additional gains provided by the product, such as savings in applied dosage and increased productivity.
AgriBrasilis – What is the future of nanotechnology in agriculture?
Letícia Mazzarino – I would say that its future is as promising as it gets. Nanotechnology is expected to revolutionize the market, mainly due to its innovative potential, being one of the pillars of agriculture 4.0. Among the main advantages, we highlight the improvement in the delivery of nutrients in the case of fertilizers, the reduction of doses and increase of efficiency in the case of pesticides, the protection against biotic and abiotic factors in biological control, as well as post-harvest applications, etc.