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How green is my fertiliser?

An Indo-Australian collaborative effort is using nano-biotechnology to make fertilisers that improve crop yields, while reducing carbon footprints

On an average, a farmer in India has to use about 100 kg of various conventional fertilisers to grow 1 acre of paddy. While some part of the fertiliser is absorbed by the plants, the rest leach through the soil into the ground water, thus going to waste and causing pollution. If the farmer uses a nano-fertiliser, she will need only a few grams for 1 acre; the crop will have a higher yield because it absorbs almost all the nutrients from the fertiliser, there will be no wastage, and, therefore, no soil or water pollution.

Working towards researching and manufacturing these nano-fertilisers for a variety of crops is the TERI Deakin Nano-Biotechnology Centre in Gurugram. It has field-tested some of these fertilisers, and found improvements in the crop yields of tomatoes, paddy and soybean, and is conducting further field trials in many states across India.

The Centre was established in 2010 as a collaboration between Indian research think tank The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and Australia’s Deakin University, with the aim of identifying and developing new ways of producing farm profitability through nano-biotechnology while conserving natural resources.

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