“Plant Virus” Nanoparticle Can Help Farmers Better Manage Fields


Researchers at UC San Diego found that a nanoparticle “plant virus” could be used to optimize the protection of crop fields / Photo by: meganelford0 via Pixabay


Crops and fields are usually always under the constant attack of pests and other parasitic nematodes that could really affect the quality of the produce and give farmers an even harder time. Now, through researchers’ efforts in the University of California San Diego and Case Western Reserve University, they found that a nanoparticle “plant virus” could be used to optimize the protection of crop fields.

According to Science Daily, the way that this biological nanoparticle would work is that its small molecules will be able to give more protection in large part because the particles will be able to penetrate deeper into the soil.

This makes sure that parasitic pests are already dealt with before they even think about feeding on the crops’ roots. Additionally, it will also lessen the poison that farmers are technically using on crops through ordinary pesticides. Plus, ordinary pesticides have a tendency to bind with organic matter. Because of this, pesticide doesn’t really have the ability to penetrate the soil.

Farmers often think that putting more than the required amount means the pesticide will eventually reach just enough under the crops, though, but that’s ultimately dangerous because of pesticide buildup.

With this new plant virus, Nicole Steinmetz, professor of nanoengineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, says that they feel like they could truly impact the agriculture world.

Using their knowledge of nanomedicine, they were able to successfully develop nanoparticles that were designed for “targeted drug delivery”.

However, there is much research to be done when it comes to what kind of plant virus per se will be the fastest to seep into the soil based on its geometry and its surface chemistry.

As observed, it’s looking to be the Tobacco mild green mosaic virus that seems to travel the farthest, and part of it has to do with the fact that this nanoparticle in particular is tubular in shape, which gives it better control of its body.