Warm greetings and welcome to this special edition of the Nano News brought to you by NPEP. This edition has a focus on the role of nanotechnology in agriculture and highlights new and exciting developments and events that have taken place in the nanotechnology sector.
The South African government through the Department of Science and Technology’s (DST) Ten Year Innovation Plan (2008-2018) identifies agriculture as a key point of focus in one of its grand challenges, the “farmer to pharma value chain” to strengthen the bio-economy. The challenge addresses the importance of efficient crop production, which would lead to improved food security and boost the agricultural sector’s participation in the economy. Nanotechnology research and applications in agriculture have a number of implications and these may include increasing farm sustainability while decreasing environmental impact through precision farming, or improving food safety by using smart packaging, which also enables less food waste. Nanotechnology research could further be applied to animal health to improve animal production through diagnosis and treatment of diseases with nanoparticles.
We turn our attention to some of the new developments related to nanotechnology in South Africa by looking at the much talked about cutting-edge paper published recently in the prestigious Nature Materials titled “Imaging the atomic structure and local chemistry of platelets in natural type Ia diamond”. The DST funded Nanotechnology Innovation Centre (NICs) established in 2007 held their 10-year celebration and both centres took the time to enjoy the milestone with their stakeholders while reviewing some of their outstanding achievements to date. We also caught up with Professor Mary Gulumian from the National Institute of Occupational Health at the University of Witwatersrand to discuss the environmental safety and health aspects of nanotechnology. We hope you will enjoy this special edition.
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