Bio-based Silica Nanocomposite A Ground-breaking Green Solution For Sustainable Agriculture
The use of pesticides has been a debatable subject globally over the decades. Chemical pesticides, without a doubt, are environmentally unfriendly, hazardous and rampantly used in many parts of the world to yield more produce.
Many researchers have conducted studies to combat this issue and have explored nanobiotechnology to develop and promote sustainable agriculture and crop improvement products. Research has also shown that nano-based fertilizers are safer for plants and will not induce toxicity (Saxena et al., 2016). Studies also highlighted the use of nano-silica, a widely available and popular nanomaterial, as an important catalyst in plant sustainability development.
While nanosilica is widely known to be developed from non-organic matter, Biosilico is derived from rice husk, an organic matter, and therefore, classifying Biosilico as a bio-based nanosilica.
In pursuit of discovering the application of Biosilico for sustainable agriculture development, an extensive research was jointly carried out with a team of researchers in Nanomaterials from the Laboratory of Natural Sciences and National University in Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) through the CTS platform by BSB Nanotech. The research was carried out over 18 months and resulted in the formulation of Ag/SiO₂ colloidal nanocomposite that is equally functional as the regular pesticide with an added advantage of producing enhanced antibacterial properties and prolonged performance duration that would reduce the dependence on chemical fertilizers and pesticides, thus protecting people from harmful and hazard consequences. The results of this research and development were accepted and published in the Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Vol. 20, 1–8, 2020.
Following the above research, field trials have confirmed that Ag/SiO₂ nanocomposite is not only effective in the resistance to abiotic and biotic stresses but also significantly increases yield. What is more important is the new process of synthesizing Ag/SiO₂ is efficient and can be scaled up for mass production.
The birth of ECO OK (patent pending)
From these successful field trials, the game-changing bio-based multifunctional nano nutrition for plants was developed and mass produced for commercial applications. This advanced nanocomposite formulation, trademarked ECO OK, can be applied through foliar applications or directly onto the soil to enhance plant metabolism by increasing uptake of nutrients whilst providing protection against common plant diseases and pests.
ECO OK promotes soil health and negates the use of harmful pesticides or fungicides which paves a path to sustainable agriculture. It also increases crop yield, stimulates growth of roots and shoots, promotes budding and is environmentally friendly. Additionally, ECO OK has an inbuilt antibacterial and antifungal mechanism due to its composition. The principal components in this nanocomposite product are nano-sized silver and silica particles. Silver nanoparticles possess the ability of adhering to the cell membrane of plant pathogenic organisms and destroying them. The advanced nanocomposite technology employed in ECO OK also ensures enhanced performance over longer periods as the release of nutrients is controlled.
Circular Economy Model
Utilizing rice husk, an agricultural waste product, to produce ECO OK is well represented in the 3 principals of the circular economy model. ECO OK shows adherence to the first principle of circular economy; wherein waste and pollution is reduced. This also plays into the second principle due to the usage of these waste products which otherwise would ultimately end up in landfills. To top it all, the benefits ECO OK has on crops or paddy fields relate to the third principle of regenerating natural systems and finally comes into full circle.
The Present and the Future
At the time of launch, ECO OK has been proven to be extremely effective in controlling and preventing plant diseases in a variety of Asian tropical fruit trees such as Passion Fruit, Jack Fruit, and the highly revered Durian. The use of ECO OK is currently being expanded to industrial plants such as pepper, palm oil, rubber, and others. More news on ECO OK applications will be updated in this page.
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