Policy Seminar

Nanotechnology, Food, Agriculture and Development

Jun 18, 2008 - 03:30 pm to 05:00 pm UTC

Imagine eating foods without absorbing harmful allergens and cholesterol into your body. Imagine farmlands in developing countries with environmental sensors that automatically release pesticides and fertilizers only when absolutely necessary. Imagine going to your nearest market and being able to modify the foods you purchase to suit your nutritional needs and tastes. The first two concepts are fast becoming a reality. The third appears to be on the horizon. These are some of the revolutionary means by which nanotechnology* promises to transform the way we grow, process, and eat food.

The seminar will address the growing importance of nanotechnology, the main applications being developed in food and agriculture, and the implications of these applications for the developing world.

Nanotechnology is the manipulation of materials measuring between 1 and 100 nanometers in order to create new materials and products. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter. A human hair is approximately 100,000 nanometers wide.

Mihail Roco is Senior Advisor for Nanotechnology at the National Science Foundation. Hongda Chen is National Program Leader, Bioprocess Engineering with the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Guillaume Gruere is a Research Fellow in the Environment & Production Technology Division at IFPRI.