Developing novel microparticle and nanoparticle-based controlled release formulations for agriculture

Funding Details
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
  • Grant type: Engage Grants Program
  • Year: 2015/16
  • Total Funding: $25,000
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Project Summary

Increasing the productivity of agricultural fields, particularly in the context of the shrinking availability of prime agricultural land and increasing weather stresses, is essential to both secure our existing food supplies as well as provide for the growing world population. In this context, pesticides and fertilizers play an essential role in both increasing crop yields, as well as enhancing crop defenses against environmental stresses such as drought, pests, or diseases. However, the general application of existing chemical pesticides and fertilizers to fields can lead to rapid loss via run-off processes that can induce potential downstream environmental issues. The formulation of substances that can switch on a plants immune response offers a potential solution to this challenge. Petro-Canada, a Suncor Energy business, has recently developed a new category of plant immune response triggers which when sprayed on plants can effectively bind and induce a range of beneficial responses, including a greater ability to withstand environmental stresses (such as fungal pathogens). Through the proposed collaboration with Dr. Hoare's lab at McMaster, which has extensive experience in designing controlled release formulations; these immune response triggers will be formulated into controlled release vehicles. We anticipate significant improvements in plant stress management while minimizing downstream pollution.