Chinese scientists have developed a smart pesticide that, once in the soil, is controllable and recyclable, according to an article on Xinhuanet.com.
A team led by Wu Zhengyan, professor with the Technical Biology Institute, under Hefei Institute of Physical Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, used diatomite, iron magnesium oxide and chitosan to make a compound that can be activated by changes to pH levels in the soil.
“The release of the pesticide mixed with the additive can be easily adjusted by pH changes. The additive wraps up the drug and acts like a gatekeeper. It opens the gate and dissolves in acidic conditions,” Wu said.
He said the research showed that a single-season crop only needed the pesticide spray once. During the growth of the plant, growers simply spray a weak-acid agent to activate and control the pesticide’s effect. Conventional farming needs several rounds of pesticide spray.
The report on the research was published in the latest issue of the Chemical Engineering Journal, an international research journal.