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NANO-SPONGES FOR INTELLIGENT AGRICULTURE
Plants that grow more and have a better appearance. What counts is not just the climate, but technology. This is so for functionalized nano-sponges (FNS), an agricultural invention that allows plants to grow more and improve their appearance by feeding them with an optimal dosage of micro-nutrients and active ingredients that are necessary for healthy growth. Another notable advantage is that nano-sponges allow a significant reduction in the use of herbicides and fertilizers, thereby increasing productivity and improving both the environmental and cultivation quality levels.
Nano-sponges are produced by Sea Marconi Technologies of Turin and Green Has Italia of Canale d‚ÄôAlba , in collaboration with the Agriculture Faculty of Turin University. Therefore, by using FNS it is possible to significantly improve the growth and preservation of vegetables in the context of intelligent agricultural practices that have a lower impact on the environment and help the balance of global climate change.
Nano-sponges are porous macro-molecules with nano-cavities (hence the name) synthesised using a completely natural product: starch. Nutritive substances (such as iron and zinc), or active ingredients, are encapsulated in the nano-cavities during the synthesis process. One of the big advantages of this innovative product is the possibility of making ad-hoc formulations for different types of applications.
The nutritive substances incorporated in the nano-sponges are dosed and fed to the plants in a very precise manner, ‚Äúdrop by drop‚ÄĚ, thereby optimising photosynthesis. The significant reduction in the use of fertilisers makes their cultivation similar to that of organic products, although production levels are much higher. This means lower production costs and access to healthier food for many more people.
For example, FNSs with iron solve one of the most common problems for plants: iron chlorosis (yellowing of the leaves), thereby allowing a more efficient photosynthesis conversion and higher plant growth rate (with a production yield up to 20% or more of the dry weight), compared to plants treated with products that are currently on the market. Also, flowers that are cut off have a significantly longer duration in terms of their appearance compared to those treated with products that are currently on the market.
Nano-sponges were developed in Sea Marconi‚Äôs laboratories. The company has 100 employees, of which 50 work in Collegno and 50 work in Secl√¨ (Lecce) and foreign locations (Germany, France, Spain, and Argentina). They are mainly University graduates in Chemistry or Engineering who work in one of the most dynamic enterprises in the world with regard to environmental protection. Sea Marconi also has over 40 patents in Europe and the U.S.A. that regard the energy and environment combination, specialising in the control of insulating oils in electrical appliances, and it is also the controlling partner of Edf for diagnosis, monitoring and de-contamination diagnosis of nuclear reactors in France