Better than pesticide: non-toxic, resistance-proof nano tech protects SA grain crops

By / 6th of February, 2014

Researchers may have found a cheap and effective alternative to using pesticides to protect grain exports.

PhD students and Professor Dusan Losic from The University of Adelaide’s School of Chemical Engineering have found that ‘nano-scale’ silica structures can be turned in to a non-toxic nanomaterial that dehydrates insects by disrupting their protective cuticle.

The silica comes from a novel place; it’s formed by the fossilised remains of single-celled algae, which are readily available as a byproduct of mining.

PhD student Sheena Chen will be presenting her findings at the Conference for Nanoscience and Microscopy, hosted at the Adelaide Convention Centre. PhD student John Hayles is also involved with the research.

The 2014 Conference on Nanotechnology and Miscroscopy

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Key contacts

Dusan Losic Professor, ARC Future Fellow The University of Adelaide School of Chemical Engineering
61 8 8313 4648
  • Unlike pesticides, only a physical mode of action is involved and therefore insects won’t develop a resistance to the product.

  • Another advantage is that the material is very stable and requires less frequent applications.

  • The 2014 International Conference on Nanoscience and Nanotechnology is taking place at the Adelaide Convention Centre between the 2nd and 6th of February.