Scientists, including an Indian-origin researcher, have found nano-sized degradable clay that could serve as an alternative to chemicals and pesticides, effectively protecting plants from specific disease-causing pathogens.
Researcher Neena Mitter from University of Queensland in Australia said BioClay - an environmentally sustainable alternative to chemicals and pesticides -could be a game-changer for crop protection. The study was recently published in Nature Plants. “In agriculture, the need for new control agents grows each year, driven by demand for greater production, the effects of climate change, community and regulatory demands and toxicity and pesticide resistance,” she said.
“Our disruptive research involves a spray of nano-sized degradable clay used to release double-stranded RNA that protects plants from specific disease-causing pathogens,” the researcher said. Mitter further stated that the technology reduced the use of pesticides without altering the genome of the plants.
Once BioClay is applied, the plant ‘thinks' it is being attacked by a disease or pest insect and responds by protecting itself from the targeted pest or disease, Mitter noted. A single spray of BioClay protects the plant and then degrades, reducing the risk to the environment or human health. -ANI