The effects of balanced nutrient managements and nano-fertilizers effects on crop production in semi-arid areas

Mohammad Valizadeh, Vesna Milic

Abstract


The common features of semi-arid region of West Asia and North Africa (WANA) are limited rainfall and harsh production environments. Soil of s these regions are intensively tilled, they are low in organic matter content and consequently have weak structural stabilities. Furthermore water scarcity is one most limiting factor for plants growth in these areas. Although the conditions of soil and water are vastly different from place to place, all plants need permeable soils with high organic matter and sufficient concentrations of essential elements for an acceptable growth. Therefore a balanced fertilization strategy with macro and micronutrients in plant nutrition is very imperative for crop production in these areas. In this context, nano-technology can be one of the most powerful tools for improving the plant production in modern agriculture, and is estimated to become a driving economic force in the near future. It is predicted that nano-technology can boost agricultural production through the nano-formulations of agrochemicals and production of nano-fertilizers. During the last decade, some studies tried to examine the potential of nano-biotechnology to improve nutrients use efficiency and strategies that result in the design and development of efficient new nano-fertilizer delivery platforms for use at the farm level. A nano-formulated fertilizer presents unique physico-chemical properties, so that they can fulfill plant root requirements more efficiently in comparison with conventional fertilizers (in the form of salts or in bulk size). The gradual and regulated release of the nutrient could be through the process of dissolution and ion exchange reactions. Utilization of nano-fertilizers may increase solubility and dispersion of insoluble nutrients in soil, reduce nutrient immobilization (soil fixation) and increase their bio-availability. Between the nutrients the efficiency of nitrogen, phosphorus, zinc and iron are well documented in these regions. Besides, nanoparticles have unique physicochemical properties compared with bulk particles, so that their small size and propensity to cross barriers (cell wall and plasma membrane) facilitates effective absorption and their large specific surface can result in good level of interaction with intracellular structures. Consequently nano particles can be used to increase the supply of elements to plant shoots and foliage. Nano-silicon dioxide (nSiO2) and nano-titanium dioxide (TiO2) has exceptional optical and biological characteristics and has recently caught the attention of plant physiologists.


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