Impact of Nanomaterials on Beneficial Insects in Agricultural Ecosystems

  • Malaichamy Kannan
  • Kolanthasamy Elango
  • Thangavel Tamilnayagan
  • Sundharam Preetha
  • Govindaraju Kasivelu
Part of the Nanotechnology in the Life Sciences book series (NALIS)


Nanotechnology has revolutionized the world with tremendous advancement in many fields of science like engineering, biotechnology, analytical chemistry and agriculture. Nanotechnological principles and concepts can be exploited for early detection, monitoring and management of pests. It is set to offer a platform to transform agriculture sector from production, protection, processing and storage. The key contributions due to application of nanotechnology in agriculture are delivery systems that aid in slow release and efficient delivery of agro-inputs. The need to produce an inexpensive and abundant food supply for a growing population warrants higher use of fertilizers and pesticides. The increasing use of pesticides has a negative impact on farmers, consumers, nontarget organism and the environment. A challenge to balance between crop production and environmental protection can be achieved by adopting nanotechnology. Nanoparticles are effective nanocides against insects and pests. Different types of nanoparticles, viz. nano silica, silver, aluminium oxide, zinc oxide, titanium dioxide and oil in water (nanoemulsions), can be effectively used as nanocides in the management of rice weevil, Sitophilus oryzae; lesser grain borer, Rhyzopertha dominica; red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum; tobacco caterpillar, Spodoptera litura; oleander aphid, Aphis nerii; bruchid beetle, Callosobruchus maculatus; and diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella. Insect pest management products containing nanomaterials can alter the functionality or risk profile of active ingredients and promise many benefits over conventional pesticide products. These benefits may include improved formulation characteristics, easier application, better targeting of pest species, increased efficacy, lower application rates and enhanced environmental safety. The knowledge on the impacts of nanomaterials on development, parasitism or predatory efficiency and emergence capacity as well as to preserve effective beneficial insects are essential to conserve parasitoids, predators and pollinators from nanotoxicity to suppress the insect pests in the cropping system. This chapter summarized that nanomaterials are not causing deleterious effects to the beneficial insects, and synthetic chemical insecticides even at very low doses caused acute toxicity, feeding inhibition, growth impairment and delayed toxicity to beneficial insects.


Agriculture Beneficial insects Impacts Nanomaterials Nanotoxicity 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Malaichamy Kannan
    • 1
  • Kolanthasamy Elango
    • 3
  • Thangavel Tamilnayagan
    • 3
  • Sundharam Preetha
    • 2
  • Govindaraju Kasivelu
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Plant Protection, Horticultural College and Research InstitutePeriyakulam, Tamil Nadu Agricultural UniversityTamil NaduIndia
  2. 2.Department of Nano Science and TechnologyTamil Nadu Agricultural UniversityCoimbatoreIndia
  3. 3.Department of EntomologyTamil Nadu Agricultural UniversityCoimbatoreIndia
  4. 4.Centre for Ocean Research, Sathyabama Institute of Science and TechnologyChennaiIndia

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