A team of researchers led by Dr. Santosh K Misra and Piyush Kumar from the Department of Biological Sciences & Bioengineering has developed a Novel Nanoparticle-based Bio-Degradable-Carbonoid-Metabolite (BioDCM) that can protect agricultural crops from fungal and bacterial infections, in collaboration with researchers Dr. C. Kannan and Divya Mishra from ICAR-Indian Institute of Rice Research and Dr. R Balamurugan along with Mou Mandal from the School of Chemistry, University of Hyderabad.
This comes as the second such innovation in the agriculture sector since last year from IIT Kanpur. Last year, out of the 107 patents filed by the institute, one path-breaking invention was the Bhu-Parikshak soil-testing device that has proven to significantly reduce the time and hassle required for testing soil in the lab. Adding to that relentless saga of bringing effective innovations to the farmers, the invention of these Novel Nanoparticles would prove to act as shields to protect the crops, especially rice crops from infection and diseases.
Highlighting the development, Prof. Abhay Karandikar, Director, IIT Kanpur said, “Our institute has undertaken many innovative high tech projects to help farmers. As the problems faced by the farmers are multifold, our efforts also have been relentless to enrich the whole ecosystem of farming, in general. In that regard, the invention of these Novel Nanoparticles would lessen the worries of crop infection and give a boost to crop yield. I congratulate the whole team for their efforts in delivering another boon to the farmers.”
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The technology is a protective biological alternative that can be used to enhance crop protection against various diseases in an agricultural field, especially for rice crops. It is developed as a biodegradable nanoparticle system with a metabolite – the end-product of metabolism or the process of conversion of food, extracted from the naturally occurring common soil fungi viz., Trichoderma asperellum Strain TALK1. This extracted metabolite can be used as an effective organic antimicrobial agent and carbonaceous degradable encompassing to provide protection against crop diseases and enrichment of the soil, respectively.
Some key advantages of the invention
- Precise target action
- Can be active at low concentration
- Has similar advantages like chemical pesticides but is safe and biodegradable, unlike them
- Can offer multiple actions, e.g. – biopesticide, phyto-stimulants, etc.
- Fast in action as it is applied in bioactive forms
- The bio-formulation protects the active compound from high temperature
Natural products are in great demand for plant protection in organic agriculture and export-oriented products. The bio-formulation is of non-toxic nature, eco-friendly, easily degradable and is established to be a potent natural inhibitor in suppressing the growth and development of soil-based plant pathogens, including fungi and bacteria. It helps in the crops to defend themselves by eliciting defence and meeting the level of competition towards better productivity. The invention also helps in overcoming some shortcomings such as less control on bioavailability, pre-mature degradation and absorption by the crops, thus, making it a feasible option for farmers.