Submitted to: Acta Horticulture Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: November 10, 2004
Publication Date: January 17, 2005
Citation: Glenn, D.M., Puterka, G.J. 2005. A new tool for agriculture: particle film technology. Acta Horticulture Proceedings. Hort Review 31:1-45. Technical Abstract: Scientific evidence that chemically active pesticides are residually present on food, in water supplies, in the soil, and that these chemicals may interfere with animal growth and development has resulted in a mandate to develop reduced-risk alternatives to chemical pesticides. New paradigms were needed to control plant pests in an economically sustainable and environmentally safe manner. Particle film technology is a combined synthesis of knowledge on mineral technology, insect behavior, and light physics as they apply to pest control and plant physiology. Current particle film technology is based on kaolin, an aluminosilicate mineral that easily disperses in water and is chemically inert over a wide pH range. Technical advances in kaolin processing have made it possible to produce kaolin particles with specific sizes, shapes, and light reflective properties. An effective particle film on plant tissues has certain characteristics: (1) chemically inert mineral particle, (2) particle diameter < 2 µm, (3) formulated to spread and create a uniform film, (4) porous film that does not interfere with gas exchange from the leaf, (5) transmits photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) but excludes ultraviolet and infrared radiation to some degree, (6) alters insect/pathogen behavior on the plant, and (7) can be removed from harvested commodities. Many of these characteristics are similar to natural plant defenses consisting of increasing cuticle thickness and pubescence to reduce water and heat stress and to interfere with disease and insect damage. The purpose of this presentation is to describe the use of particle films in agriculture.