Nanotechnology and their application in insect pest management

Author: Habel Parwaiz, Saad Ramzan and Tahawar Ali Sayeed University of agriculture Faisalabad


Nanotechnology and their application in insect pest management


A Nano is greek word which means one billionth of a meter. Nano-scale is actually nanometer scale which range from approximately 1 nm to 100 nm. Although, Nano-technology is define as a “manipulation of matter with at least one dimension sized from 1-100 nanometer”.  There are wide range of nanotechnology product now like nano-fertilizer, nano-weedicides, nano-insecticides, Nano-medicine, Nano-sensor etc. these are further classified on the basis of their size, nature, mode of action, range, development and also even relevancy for agriculture and other usage. However this recent technology help to meet the shortage of food challenges all over the world through enhancing the crop yield and food quality, minimizing pestiferous insect, give target oriented results, etc.

History of nanotechnology

In 1965 Richard P. Feynman said “There’s Plenty of Room at the bottom” Why cannot we write the entire 24 volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica on the head of a pin? And give the idea of nanotechnology for the first time, on this He was received Nobel Prize in physics. Norio Taniguchi was the scientist who first use term “Nanotechnology” in a 1974. In 1980’s K. Eric Drexler gave the idea of Molecular Machinery, Manufacturing, and Computation. In present epoch lots of scientist belongs to field are struggling to develop a standard and new product which are ecofriendly, target specific, and give result as maximum as possible.

How do properties change at nano-scale level?

When we manipulate the desire material (matter) into nanoparticle this give both results either this change enhance its capabilities or minimize its effect as this material or matter originally work. Although these following process help to understand the nano-technology:-

  • Increase in the surface area to volume ratio
  • Quantum mechanical effects
  • Dominance of electromagnetic forces
  • Random (Brownian) motion

Application of nanotechnology

This incredible technology use in almost every field of life. Scientist use this technology in modified ways to achieve their goals, this technology use in following fields like Agriculture, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, information technology, Mechanical engineering, Imaging technology also in Material science and other closely associated discipline of Biological science.

Nanomaterial’s in agriculture 

This technology play a significant role in agriculture fields in multiple ways to control pest and ultimately enhance crops quality and quantity .Given below are some major goal which are achieve with the help of this technology

  • Increase efficiency of resource utilization
  • Increase Production rate of Crops, Fruits and vegetables
  • Minimize agriculture Waste Production

Specific Application

  • Nano-fertilizer, Nano-Pesticides
  • Nano-based treatment of agriculture waste
  • Nano-sensors

Nanomaterial’s in insect pest management


Nano-pesticides are any formulation that are intentionally formulated with specific modification of element in the range of nm size and these element claims novel properties correlated with these minute size range.


  • Nano-Particle
  • Nano-encapsulation
  • Nano-emulsion
  • Nano-pheromones


  1. Nano-particle

First record nanotechnology in agriculture was Silica nanoparticles a potential modern insecticide use for pest management. Nano-particle actually formed after breakdown and modification of desire martial which may be a metal, soil, or any other material. These are some important example of Nano-particles iron oxide nanoparticle, gold nanoparticles and silver ion which can be easily synthesized and available as a pesticides (Insecticides) for insect pest management. Similarly there is new and novel tool for armyworm known as DNA-tagged nano gold.

  1. Nano-encapsulation

In this case an encapsulating material use to cover a small sized active substance in manner of nanoparticle. The encapsulation shell maybe made of natural polymer like polysaccharides (alginate) and protein (gelatin), made of lipid (phospholipids), made of synthetic polymers (polyamides, melamine-formaldehydes), or made of inorganic materials (SiO2), etc. Nano-material which are encapsulated with polymer are used for the delivery of drugs-good example of ex-situ synthesis. There are fumigant properties in form of essential oil for the management of Tribolium castaneum is one also an example of nano-encapsulated formulation.

  • Nano-emulsion

Similarly the nano-emulsion is having droplet size (20-200nm) also known as mini emulsion or ultrafine emulsion. These are some following properties achieve through this novel formulation like thermodynamics stability, ease of preparation, optical clarity, increase surface area and enhanced solubility. These are some example of this nano-emulsion like single phase system, oil in water emulsion, water in oil emulsion, etc. Nano-emulsion can be formed by following two method of fabrication

  1. High energy emulsification methods

Based on ultrasonificat ion and high pressure homogenization

  1. Low energy emulsification methods

Based on phase inversion temperature, solvent displacement method and phase inversion composition method

  1. Nano-pheromones

There are many product scientist develop on nano-pheromons and also research is continue in different country of world in this technology. This nano-pheromons give efficient management of fruit pests by pheromone nano-gels like fruit fly, red palm weevil and other destructive pest of fruits.

Future prospective

  • Scientist are more concern to develop more effective and broad spectrum bio nano-pesticides
  • Field level application of nano-pesticides
  • Evaluation of nano-matrials for hazardous effects
  • Ecofriendly and target specific
  • Nano-cides are develop to use in integrated pest management
  • Nano-sensor are under developing to longer shelf life of plant
  • Nano-cides develop to use as bioactive protection
  • Developing Nano-metrological and use this technology in food science
  • Easy to use and easy to access to ensure the food security all over the world






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