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Nanotech aid for farmers - Project in progress at ISI

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By SHAHNAWAZ AKHTAR in Giridih
  • Published 16.03.09
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Giridih, March 16: The effect of nanotechnology on agriculture could generate some interesting results, feel scientists at the Indian Statistical Institute, Giridih centre.

Chemical fertilisers and pesticides are harmful to the ecology. Thus, the Union ministry of science and technology has funded a research development programme of agro-enterotoxic nano-particles and its uses.

With an estimated budget of Rs 126.51 lakh for a period of 3 years, the project began in October, 2008, and is in its initial phase. And those involved in it are very optimistic about the results. They want to use nanotechnology to cut down the use of pesticides and chemical fertilisers without changing the production-level.

Experts are of the opinion that Giridih is an excellent choice for studying the effects of nano particles on plants because of its virgin soil and environment. “The use of fertilisers and pesticides is very low or close to nil here, in comparison to soils of Bengal and Bangalore, where similar research programmes are being conducted,” said Somesh Bhattacharya, a nanotechnology expert.

Along with Bhattacharya, Dr Arunava Goswami of ISI, Giridih, geologist Dr Ronen Sen and ecologist professor Ratan Lal Barahamchari are also involved in the project.

Experts shared that across the world, five groups were working on the nano particles and its effect on different sectors, like human beings, animals and agriculture.

“One group is working in India, at present. We are focused on nano technology and its effect in agriculture,” said Bhattacharya. “Soon we would also work on nano particles and its effect on animals.”

To get perfect results, experts and 33 staff members of the ISI, Giridih, are doing their best. Several vegetables and crops are being grown across a 39-acre farmhouse of ISI. Carrots, tomatoes, radish, rice, wheat, barley, tea, gram and beans are being studied.

Special quality crops like Grand 9 or G9 variety of bananas are also being grown here. The G9 race has been brought from Israel and experts are hopeful it could be popularised in the Indian market. Sisal and jatropha are also being grown to study the effect of nano particles on them.