Imagine a technology that could target pesticides to treat specific spots deep within the soil, making them more effective at controlling infestations while limiting their toxicity to the environment.
Researchers at the University of California San Diego and Case Western Reserve University have taken a step toward that goal. They discovered that a biological nanoparticle—a plant virus—is capable of delivering pesticide molecules deeper below the ground, to places that are normally beyond their reach.
The work could help farmers better manage difficult pests, like parasitic nematodes that wreak havoc on plant roots deep in the soil, with less pesticide.
Photos by David Baillot/UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering