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Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticles Carrier for Urea: Potential Applications in Agrochemical Delivery Systems

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Nanotechnology-based agrochemical delivery systems would ensure efficient and economical utilization of these very important agricultural inputs. In this study, mesoporous silica nanoparticles with particle diameters of ∼150 nm and pore sizes of ∼2.5 nm were synthesized via liquid crystal templating mechanism. Urea, as a model agrochemical molecule, was entrapped in the mesopores of the siliceous material by simple immersion loading using aqueous urea solutions. About 15.5% (w/w) of urea was loaded inside the pores mainly by physisorption while the total adsorption capacity of mesoporous silica nanoparticles could reach up to 80% (w/w). Highly concentrated urea solution was found to be more effective due to high driving concentration gradient generated. Release process of the urea-loaded mesoporous silica nanoparticles in water and soil indicated a two stage sustained slow release-profile. The findings for soil release studies revealed at least fivefold improvement in the release period. By the ability to entrap urea guest molecules into its mesopores and release them in a controlled manner, mesoporous silica nanoparticles demonstrated its great potential as a nanocarrier for agrochemicals.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2012

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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