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Module 1: Nanoparticles in Agricultural Products

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Starch
Starch is a polymeric carbohydrate consisting of numerous glucose units joined by glycosidic bonds. It is the most common carbohydrate in human diets and is contained in large amounts in staple foods like potatoes, maize (corn), rice, wheat and cassava.

Amylase
An Amylase is an enzyme that catalyses the hydrolysis of starch into sugars. Amylase is present in the saliva of humans and some other mammals, where it begins the chemical process of digestion.

Seed Treatment of Spinach with Iron Pyrite
There is an enhanced breakdown of stored starch in the iron pyrite treated seeds resulting in significantly better growth.
This indicates that Iron Pyrite acts as an Amylase or artificial starch breaking enzyme system.
This raises the possibility of developing iron pyrite nanoparticles as a commercial seed-treatment agent (pro-fertilizer) for spinach crops.

Nanoparticles in Agriculture
Nanoparticles which generally mean nano-sized material have been extensively employed in agriculture for nutrient supply and protection of crop plants.
They have been used as nanofertilizers and nanopesticides which in several cases have revealed efficiency over their counterparts.
Nanofertilizers and nanopesticides are generally conceived more efficient than commonly used agrochemicals because of their ability to reduce nutrient losses, improve solubility, enhance nutrient uptake, and reduce the rate of application of traditional fertilizers and pesticides.
Development of nanoparticles particularly from carbon nanotubes, P, K, Fe, Mn, Zn, Cu, Mo, copper, zinc, silver, and iron has greater potentials of utilization as nanofertilizers and nanopesticides.

Nanotechnology in Food Products
Certain nanomaterials can be used in food and food products for various purposes. In the form of approved food additives, they alter properties such as taste, appearance or shelf life of the food. They are also used to encapsulate essential trace substances, making them more stable and easier for humans to absorb.
Nanotechnology applications are expected to bring a range of benefits to the food sector, including new tastes, textures and sensations, less use of fat, enhanced absorption of nutrients, improved packaging, traceability and security of food products.