Mechanical cum biochemical approach is being employed to prepare nanofertizers where materials are ground to nanosized particles through mechanical means and then biochemical techniques are put in action to prepare effective nanoscale formulations.
Advantages of nanofertilizers over conventional mineral fertilizers:
Nanofertilizers feed the crop plants gradually in a controlled manner in contradiction to rapid and spontaneous release of nutrients from chemical fertilizers.
Nanofertilizers are more efficacious in terms of nutrients absorption and utilization owing to considerably lesser losses in the form of leaching and volatilization.
Nanoparticles record significantly higher uptake owing to free passage from nano sized pores and by molecular transporters as well as root exudates.
Nanoparticles also utilize various ion channels which lead to higher nutrient uptake by crop plants.
Within the plant, nanoparticles may pass through plasmodesmata that results in effective delivery on nutrient to sink sites.
Due to considerably small losses of nanofertilizers, these can be applied in smaller amounts in comparison to synthetic fertilizers which are being applied in greater quantities keeping in view their major chunk that gets lost owing to leaching and emission.
Nanofertilizers offer the biggest benefit in terms of small losses which lead to lower risk of environmental pollution.
Comparatively higher solubility and diffusion impart superiority to nanofertilizers over conventional synthetic fertilizers.
Limitations of Nanofertilizers
Nano fertilizers related legislation and associated risk management continue to remain the prime limitation in advocating and promoting nano fertilizers for sustainable crop production.
Another limiting factor is the production and availability of nano fertilizers in required quantities and this is the foremost limitation in wider scale adoption of nano fertilizers as a source of plant nutrients.
The higher cost of nano fertilizers constitutes another hurdle in the way of promulgating them for crop production under varying pedo-climatic conditions across the globe.
Another major limitation pertaining to nanofertilizers is the lack of recognized formulation and standardization which may lead to contrasting effects of the same nanomaterials under various pedoclimatic conditions.
There are many products being claimed to be nano but in fact are submicron and micron in size. This dilemma is feared to remain persistent until and unless a uniform size of nanoparticles (1–100 nm) gets implemented.