Researchers study use of nanoparticles in ag chemicals
To look at root interaction, Davis poured a particle suspension onto the soil and then covered the plant roots. Sabliov took slices of the roots to see how the particles moved through the plant and again saw evidence of movement.
Sabliov tried a similar experiment with worms. The worms were allowed to feed on a particle solution. She said nanoparticles were not detected in the worms because they may have passed through the gut quickly. Dissections will be attempted next.
“We don’t know how much they ate, and it’s not so easy to track the fluorescent compound in the worm as it is in the plant,” she said.
These studies can help Sabliov and Davis understand how the nanoparticles interact with the plant and help them identify applications down the road.
“There are lots of problems we can solve,” Sabliov said. “But each is challenging in its own way, and we can’t attack them all at the same time. We have to do it one at a time.”
Sabliov said these nanoparticles could present their own safety issues. She also wants to see if nanoparticles, which are biodegradable, pose a threat to the environment.
“If you apply these particles in large amounts, are you solving a problem but creating a bigger one?” she asked. “I think we must do studies to see if the efficacy of the delivery system helps your problems. And then in parallel, do studies of their safety to answer this question.”
The Louisiana Soybean and Grain Research and Promotion Board is funding this project.