Nanotechnology in agriculture: Comparison of the toxicity between conventional and nano-based agrochemicals on non-target aquatic species


Increased crop production is necessary to keep up with rising food demand. However, conventional agricultural practices and agrochemicals are unable to sustain further increases without serious risk of adverse environmental consequences. The implementation of nanotechnology in agriculture practices has been increasing in recent years and has shown tremendous potential to boost crop production. The rapid growth in development and use of nano-agrochemicals in agriculture will inevitably result in more chemicals reaching water bodies. Some unique properties of nanoformulations may also alter the toxicity of the AI on aquatic organisms when compared to their conventional counterparts. Results from studies on conventional formulations may not properly represent the toxicity of new nanoformulations in the aquatic environment. As a result, current guidelines derived from conventional formulations may not be suitable to regulate those newly developed nanoformulations. Current knowledge on the toxicity of nano-agrochemicals on aquatic organisms is limited, especially in an ecologically relevant setting. This review complies and analyzes 18 primary studies based on 7 criteria to provide a comprehensive analysis of the available toxicity information of nano-agrochemicals and their conventional counterparts on aquatic organisms. Our analysis demonstrates that the overall toxicity of nano-agrochemicals on non-target aquatic species is significantly lower as compared to conventional counterparts. However, further dividing formulations into three categories (organic, bulk and ionic) shows that some nanoformulations can be more toxic when compared to bulk materials but less toxic as compared to ionic formulations while organic nanopesticides do not show a general trend in overall toxicity. Moreover, our analysis reveals the limitations of current studies and provides recommendations for future toxicity studies to ensure the effective and sustainable application of nano-agrochemicals, which will be beneficial to both the agrochemical industry and regulatory agencies alike.

Authors: Yueyang Zhang, Greg G Goss
; Full Source: Journal of hazardous materials 2022 Jul 8;439:129559. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2022.129559.