Biosensors for Plant Protection Chemical Agents
Development of Biosensor Technology and Equipment for Screening of Plant Protective Chemical Agents, their Monitoring and Control in Environment
Tech Area / Field
- ENV-MIN/Monitoring and Instrumentation/Environment
3 Approved without Funding
Closed Corporation Design Bureau "Pribor", Belarus, Minsk
- State Scientific Enterprise “Institute of Biophysics and Cell Engineering of National Academy of Sciences of Belarus”, Belarus, Zhodino\nNational Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Belarus / Belarusian Institute of Plant Protection, Belarus, Minsk\nNational Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Belarus / Institute of Biophysics and Cell Engineering, Belarus, Minsk
- INNO-Concept GmbH, Germany, Strausberg\nHumboldt-Universitat zu Berlin / Institut für Biologie, Germany, Berlin
Project summaryThe aim of the project is to elaborate biosensor technology of screening plant protection chemical agents (PPCA), monitoring and controlling them in the environment as based on the electric capacity method of measuring the growth response of plants used as the test-objects impacted by PPCA as well as development of equipment to make the technology applicable.
The state of things in the explored fields: In modern plant cultivation a tremendous role is being played by PPCA (retardants, herbicides and fungicides, bactericides, seed protectants, etc.) [Potera C. Environ Health Perspect. (2007). Vol. 115, N 2. A78; Böger P and Wakabayashi K (eds.) (1999) Peroxidizing Herbicides Springer, Berlin – Tokyo. 405 Р]. The number of new PPCA and production of them is growing every year. Application of PPCA provides fairly inexpensive and effective growth of agricultural yields. At present, around 50 per cent of the market agricultural product is obtained due to application of PPCA.
At the same, broadscale employment of PPCA presents a considerable ecological threat to animals and plants by contamination of the biosphere with the residuals of PPCA many of which are stable organic substances characterized by toxicality, stability, ability to migrate within trophic chains and to accumulate in plants, animals and foodstuffs. Hence permanent and exact control of the environment as for the content of PPCA residuals, ecologizing the usage of PPCA by means of lowering the load upon the environment as well as using agrotechnical, agrochemical, biological and physiological methods of accelerating decomposition of PPCA residuals are extremely urgent.
Creation of new PPCA, their screening imply extremely labor-, time- and money-consuming laboratory analyses employing complicated analytical methods. The following field monitoring with the aim of issuing recommendation on PPCA usage is also extremely laborious as it implies performance of numerous routine measurements. Control of PPCA residuals in the biosphere demands creation of specialized laboratories, purchase of expensive equipment and chemicals, well trained specialists. Due to these disadvantages, elaboration of a simple technology of lifelong nondestructive control of plant vital functions during the primary laboratory PPCA screening, following field monitoring and control of their residuals in the environment present extremely important and actual tasks.
At present, highly productive low expenditure biosensor technologies using a biological material (test-object) of the molecular, cellular or the organism level of organization performing the function of a peculiar biological detector linked with the electric circuit of the measuring device are being developed. Plants are highly sensitive biosystems possessing a whole set of receptors providing exhausting and exact information about the immediate environment. It allows to efficiently activating or suppressing the growth processes under the impact of various factors (those of PPCA among them). In this respect, it is a very important and vital task to develop updated biosensor technology and equipment for testing PPCA, where the test-object is a specially selected higher plant linked with the electric circuit of the measuring device, and the growth response of the plant transformed by the electric capacity data unit into an electric signal measured by the device is registered. Within the framework of the project, elaboration of the new biosensor technology will be realized while testing the activity of modern widely used in the countries of the Eurounion herbicides – “Dianat” (“BASF”, Germany), “Gusar Turbo MD” (“Aventis Crop Science”, Germany) and “Laren” (“Dupon”, Switzerland) recommended to be used on the territory of the Republic of Belarus.
The effect of the project proposed on the progress in the field of the elaboration: The principally new biosensor technology and equipment for testing PPCA by the electric capacity method will correspond to the level of Eurounion standards. Their wide usage shall facilitate:
- Considerable simplification and lowering expenditures on screening, field PPCA monitoring and environmental control of the residium amount of the PPCA;
- Raising productivity of crops;
- Improvement of ecological state of soils and water reservoirs;
- Population health improvement and quality of foodstuffs.
Participants of the project: The designing group: development and manufacture of equipment for testing PPCA by electric capacity method – the DB “Pribor”, 8 participants, 5 of them Ph.Dr. (technology) experienced in weapon development and having limited experience in the field of biological instrument making. The group of technology elaboration: laboratory tests, elaboration of biosensor technology of screening PPCA, their monitoring and control in the environment – the Institute of Biophysics and Cell Engineering, 5 participants, 2 of them Dr. of Sci. (Biology), 1 - Ph. Dr. (Chemistry), the group studies the mechanisms regulating intercellular plant processes. The group of environment control: biosensor control of PPCA residuals in soils, ecologization of PPCA application – the SPC Farming, 5 persons, 1 of them Dr. of Sci. (Agriculture), 1 - Ph. Dr. (Agriculture), the group studies soil ecology. The group of field tests: biosensor technology of field monitoring PPCA – the Institute of Plant Protection, 3 persons, 2 of them Ph. Dr. (Agriculture), the group is engaged in studying activity of herbicides and harmful affects of weeds on crops.
Expected results: The project belongs to the category – Applied Research; Technology Development; Technology Demonstration. While solving the 9 tasks of the project the following results shall be obtained:
- The electric capacity method in laboratory conditions will be used to detect perspective test-objects of weeds, their vegetation phases as most sensitive to the herbicides “Dianat” and “Gusar”, optimal rates of herbicides application, their impact on the growth of weeds and cultivated plants (barley, oats). A comparative analysis of the results obtained with those given in the recommendations will be carried out;
- The electric capacity method in laboratory conditions will be employed to determine optimum regimes of herbicides storage. Comparative analysis of the results obtained will be drawn with those given by the recommendations. The result of solving the first two tasks will be elaboration of a new biosensor PPCA screening technology;
- The electric capacity method will be used to make bioitesting soils as for the content of the sulfonylurea herbicide “Laren” residuals as well as that of soils affected by agrotechnical, agrochemical, biological and physiological treatments accelerating the herbicide decay. The result will be demonstration of soils testing for residium amounts of PPCA contamination by means of the biosensor technology;
- The electric capacity method in laboratory conditions will be employed for biotesting soils with various levels of PPCA load. The result will be demonstration of biotesting soils with various levels of PPCA load by means of biosensor technology;
- Search will be made for optimum technical solutions to measure the growth response of plants by the electric capacity method. The result will be elaboration of a technical design of the device.
- A pilot sample of the device will be designed, manufactured and tested. As a result, a set of performance design documentation (PDD), software and a tested pilot sample of the device will be provided.
- Revision of PDD and perfection of the pilot sample of the device will be made as to the test results.
- Search for optimum technical solutions for measuring growth response of plants under field conditions by the electric capacity method will be made. As a result, a model sample of the device for field PPCA monitoring will be made.
- The model sample of the device will be used for field monitoring of the herbicides “Dianat” and “Gusar” on barley and oats crops. The result will be demonstration of field PPCA monitoring on the basis of biosensor technology.
The completed project will be elaboration of biosensor technology of PPCA screening, monitoring and controlling them in the environment as based on the electric capacity method of measuring the growth response of plants used as the test-objects impacted by PPCA as well as development of equipment to make the technology applicable.
Application of the project findings: The new biosensor technology and equipment diagnosing PPCA by the electric capacity method will be widely used in processes connected with:
- Biomonitoring of the environment, in particular, estimation of soil contamination with PPCA residuals;
- Elaboration of methods of ecologization of PPCA application;
- Elaboration of new PPCA agents and their screening;
- Field PPCA testing with the aim of giving recommendations as to their application;
- Agricultural production.
Meeting ISTC Goals and Objectives: The project fully corresponds the goals and objectives of the ISTC and:
- redirects the participants of the project, experienced in development of weapon technologies, on peaceful activity providing opportunity for their knowledge to be used for devising equipment for ecological investigations and for agricultural production;
- facilitates integration of the project participants into the world science society through participation in solving global ecological and nutrition problems in conference with scientists of the Eurounion;
- contributes to the transfer of the project participants to market economy by designing commerciable equipment by giving them a chance to switch over to self-financing in future by launching an equipment-manufacturing enterprise to test PPCA and monitoring of the environment;
- contributes to applied investigations, development of technologies for peaceful purposes in the fields of ecology and agricultural production;
- facilitates solution of national and international ecological and agricultural problems related to the population state of health and quality of foodstaffs.
Scope of Activities: Duration of the project is 36 months; the total effort is 6194 man*days, the total effort of the weapon scientists is 3100 man*days. The DB “Pribor” is engaged in development of the technical project of the device, the working design documentation, software, manufacture of the pilot sample of the device for laboratory testing PPCA, of model sample of the device for field monitoring PPCA. The Institute of Biophysics and Cell Engineering is in charge of laboratory testing, development of biosensor technology of screening PPCA, monitoring and controlling them in the environment. The SPC Farming is in charge of environmental PPCA control and ecologization of PPCA application. The Institute of Plant Protection is in charge of the field PPCA monitoring.
Role of Foreign Collaborators: Within the frame of the project, long-term cooperation with leading Germany scientists engaged in physiology, biophysics and biochemistry of plants is planned. They provided consultations at the project preparatory stage and when making up the work plan. The planned cooperation is as follows:
- Information exchange; participation in revisions arranged by the ISTC;
- Comments to the annual and final reports submitted to the ISTC by the project participants;
- Shared use of certain equipment and chemicals; performance of joint investigations;
- Drawing comparative analyses of results obtained by the electric capacity method and by the photosynthesis registering method (the device “Plant Vital 5000”, Prof. E. Klose, firm “INNO-Concept GmbH”, Germany); approbation of the new biosensor technology and equipment;
- Joint device patenting;
- Arrangement of consultations, joint seminars and workshops, participation in international conferences.
Technical Approach and Methodology: The biosensor technology will be based on rigid correlation between plant growth characteristics – their surface, volume, biomass on the one hand and electric capacity of plants, on the other. In preliminary experiments high sensitivity and efficiency of the electric capacity method of estimating the PPCA acifluorfen activity was shown. To realize the technology in laboratory conditions (PPCA screening, control of PPCA residuals in soils; ecologization of PPCA application (Tasks 1-4) the previously designed by the DB “Pribor” model sample of the device, allowing with high sensitivity and reproduction to register any alteration of the plant growth response, as well as developed within the frame of the project updated pilot sample of the device with proper software will be used (Tasks 5-7). Field PPCA monitoring (Task 9) will be made with model sample of the device developed (Task 8) as well as by the classic quantitative and quantitative-weight methods. Elaboration of biosensor technology will be carried out on the basis of testing activity of modern widely used in the countries of the Eurounion herbicides “Dianat”, “Gusar” and “Laren”, recommended for application in the Republic of Belarus. The impact of “Dianat” and “Gusar” will be tested on highly sensitive weed test-objects as well as on cultured plants of spring barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) and oats (Avena sativus L.) - Tasks 1, 2, 9. The plants will be grown in growth chambers and in the experimental fields of the Institute of Plant Protection. Using the biosensor technology for control of the residium content of the herbicide “Laren” in the soil and elaboration of methods of ecologization of the PPCA application (Tasks 3, 4) – crop rotation, agrotechnical (ploughing, chisel tillage, disking), agrochemical (a complex of microfertilizers), biological and physiological treatments (preparations “Baikal”, “Soprolist”, etc.) as well as decrease of level of PPCA load will be performed by making use of lupin (Lupinus luteus) and cereal plants as test-objects. Treatment and biosensor testing will be realized on the soils of the experimental fields of the SPC Farming.