by Marcin Behrendt, Nicolaus Copernicus University
They are used as medicines, drug carriers and to combat microbes in hospitals, destroy plant pathogens and reduce the amount of traditional fertilizers used in agriculture—nanoparticles are taking over medicine and the agri-food industry.
"When the starting material on a micro-scale with a specific surface area is broken down to nano size, i.e. into smaller particles, its surface area will increase many times. And it is the ratio of surface to volume that results in the unique properties of nanoparticles," explains Prof. Mahendra Rai from Sant Gadge Baba Amravati University in India.
Nanoparticles can be mainly organic or inorganic. Among the organic ones, we can distinguish liposomes, micelles, and dendrimers.