A company has designed and developed a novel and convenient way to synthesise nano-sulfur particles, which can be directly used as a highly effective sulfur fungicide in crop protection. While bulk sulfur fungicide is commercially available in the market, this nano-sulfur fungicide offers higher efficacy due to its higher surface area and smaller particle size. The nano-sulfur fungicide developed by this company has been scientifically proven to work against six fungi species at minimum concentrations, and may be used directly after synthesis with no costly and time-consuming additional steps needed. Field trials carried out with The Horticultural Crop Research and Development Institute of Sri Lanka (HORDI) obtained positive results for vegetables such as okra and tomatoes. The technology provider is looking for a partner to license the technology and move into the market.
The major application of fungicides can be found in the agricultural sector for crop protection. There are various types of fungicides based on crop type but sulfur plays a major role as an active ingredient in most of them (1). Sulfur has the ability to induce non-specific cross-linking of proteins or lipids with free radicals which target several fungus development stages. Moreover, sulfur is taken up by fungal pathogens and then oxidised to form a fungitoxic pentathionic acid or reduced to form fungicidal hydrogen sulfide which makes sulfur an efficient fungicide.
At present, bulk sulfur is widely used as a fungicide around the world. However, being a hydrophobic element, sulfur tends to agglomerate in an aqueous medium which makes it extremely difficult to be used as a spray solution. Furthermore, the particle size greatly influences the efficacy of sulfur as it is used as a contact fungicide. The best particle size of bulk sulfur fungicides has been recorded higher than 5 μm. Increased concentrations are being used to maximise efficacy, but this has also resulted in higher costs and the hindering of photosynthesis due to leaf coverage. Scorching of the leaf upon exposure to intense sunlight has also been observed.
Nano-sulfur fungicide therefore offers more attractive benefits with its smaller particle size allowing it to be applied as a spray dispersion. Furthermore, a higher surface area coverage allows a higher level of efficacy at minimum concentrations. The prepared dispersion may be used directly after synthesis, with no additional time-consuming steps required after its production.
(1) Fungicides Market: Global Industry Analysis and Forecast 2016 - 2022 https://www.persistencemarketresearch.com/market- research/fungicides-market.asp (accessed Aug 21, 2018).
Sulfur is a very common and highly effective fungicide that is being used in one form or another for a very long time. Sulfur is used for the prevention and control of plant diseases especially powdery mildew on most fruit crops like apples, gooseberries, hops, ornamentals, peaches, sugar beets, black spots or mildew on roses, rusts, peanut leaf spot, brown rot of peaches, anthracnose of grapes, cane blight, spur blight, and anthracnose of raspberries and blackberries, and other diseases.
The company's novel and convenient technology of synthesising sulfur nano particles may be further applied to numerous materials and surfaces with a wide range of applications.
The global fungicide market was valued at USD 13.12 billion in 2016 and is expected to reach USD 17.58 billion in 2022, growing at a CAGR of 5.0% between 2017 and 2022.
The Asia Pacific region led the global fungicide market in 2016 accounting for more than 27% of the market share and the trend is expected to continue in the near future (2). In 2016, the total fungicide usage in Sri Lanka was stated as 644.33 tons (based on active ingredients) (3).
The demand driver for global fungicide market can be defined as the increasing demand for fungicides in the crop protection sector for ensuring higher crop yields as well as the novel application of fungicides in turf grass protection.
(2) Global Fungicides Market Set For Rapid Growth, To Reach USD 17.58 Billion by 2022 https://www.zionmarketresearch.com/news/fungicides-market (accessed Aug 22, 2018).
(3) Pesticides Use - FAO Stats http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#data/RP (accessed Aug 23, 2018).
The benefits of nano-sulfur fungicide include: