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Relevance Of Nanotechnology In The Field of Aquaculture

Biraj Bikash Sharma* and Gadadhar Dash

Department of Aquatic Animal Health, Faculty of Fishery Sciences, WBUAFS, Kolkata-700094, West Bengal, India

*Corresponding author:


Aquaculture, the farming of aquatic organisms in inland and coastal areas is the fastest growing food producing sector in the world with expansion and diversification of technology. With the inclusion of economic venture, aquaculture now is providing the food security for the people worldwide. Fish is one of the foremost sources of biologically valuable protein, fats and fat-soluble vitamins. Moreover fish provide some elements as calcium, phosphorus, sodium, trace elements etc. It is well known that the high quality protein of fish is better for health than that in meat and poultry. Thus aquaculture industry worldwide is making significant advancement in the development of technology to augment food production every year.

What is Nanotechnology?

In simpler words, nanotechnology is nothing but the changes on matter on an atomic or molecular level. According to United States National Nanotechnology Institute (USNNI) nanotechnology is the understanding and control of matter, where dimensions of roughly 1 to 100 nm are taken. The nanometre scale is found within this range (1-100 nm) in which the crucial rules of chemistry and physics are not pertinent in nanotechnology. In general, most important feature of nanotechnology is the size along with different field of application, predominantly in molecular basis. On the other side, nanotechnology means the study, design, creation and application of functional matter in nanometre scale. Nanotechnology composed of two main approaches as "bottom up" and "top-down" based on their assembly and level of control govern through the atom. Today nanotechnology is being used in diversified fields of science as medicine, electronics, biomaterials and energy production.

Basic Tools in Nanotechnology

In nanotechnology the molecules consisting of electrical properties are used. These molecules can also be used in nanoelectronic apparatus. In the field of bio-nanotechnology, the biomolecules are implied as viruses and lipid assemblies. Though the early version of nanotechnology used Atomic Force Microscope (AFS) and Scanning Tunnelling Microscope (STM), now a day wide and advance version are developed as Optical Lithography, X-ray Lithography, Nanoprint etc. Apart from these other novel tools are also developed at present as Deep Ultraviolet Lithography, focus iron beam Lithography, Nano-imprint Lithography, Atomic Layer Deposition etc.

Nanotechnology in Agriculture Field

Due to the diversified area of application the nanotechnology sometimes referred as a general-purpose technology. The outcomes of nanotechnology are considered as cleaner, safer, smarter and long lasting. It is also considered to enhance life with application in broad agricultural food production system. In the agricultural sector DNA crystals are developed by nanotechnology for the enhancement of crop. Nanoparticles containing herbicides, chemicals, genes are targeted to particular portion of plant to release the content. Therefore it is found that the nanocapsule containing herbicides are very much potent to penetrate through the cuticles and tissues of the plants and subsequent release of toxic substances in a constant flow rate. In case of tobacco and corn plant 3-nm Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticles (MSN) has been applied successfully to introduce DNA to plant. Another example is the electrospinning process, where nanoparticles are used to prevent the waste in cotton industry. Moreover the applications of nanoparticles as nanosilica are also used to convert rice husk to a renewable energy source. In addition, on the other side, the scientist are able to discover the hormone i.e. Auxinin plant through the application of nanotechnology in plant physiological study.

Nanotechnology in Aquaculture Field

Nanotechnology has been demonstrated as a potent modulator in different aspects of aquaculture as disease diagnosis, absorption of drugs or hormones, vaccines and nutrient delivery etc. Though in the aquaculture field the commercial applications are somewhat scarce, it has tremendous possibility to use in the following field as mentioned below:


Aquaculture is regarded as most adversely affected by disease time to time resulting tumbling development and sustainability of the system. The conventional method of delivery of vaccine has some negative aspects due to the poor immune response of fish. To solve this problem nanoparticle can be applied for effective release and greater protection. Chitosan and Poly Lactide Glycolid Acid (PLGA) can be used as nanoparticles in vaccination study. These substances can be effectively used not only for bacteria but also in destruction of viral pathogen by their mild inflammatory response in fish and shrimp culture practices. In case of mass vaccination where the delivery of vaccine is a crucial factor, nanocapsule containing nanoparticles can effectively used to retain bioavailability for longer duration of time.

Drug Delivery

Drug delivery is very much significant in case of aquaculture. Several drugs are used in aquaculture as a preventive or therapeutic manner through feed or injection. By the application of nanotechnology the infection in the tissue level and their recovery can be checked. The nanoperticles contain drug will give the specificity to the target region and the better absorption of the drugs at the same time. The nanoparticles can be incorporated with antibiotics, probiotics, pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals with superior controlled time.

Nanoparticles as Fish GrowthPromoter

Nanoparticles containing different molecules are studied as growth enhancer. From the report it is found that young carp and sturgeon shows fast growth when iron containing nanoparticles are implied. The selenium (Se) containing nanoparticles are also assumed to promoter of high final body weight gain and improve the antioxidant property. This is found to be very potent in Crussian carps. Moreover more growth is found at the nanolevel application of neutraceuticals to fish. Since neutraceuticals are very much expensive their consistency is very important. In this case the nanoperticles not only improves the consistency but also found to be improved the taste of the aquafeed.

Nano-Tagging and Barcoding

The barcoad can be detected by the application of nanoscale components such as Radio Frequency ID (Rfid). This tag can be scanned by nanoparticle from very far and can able to detect the presence of any other particles on it autonomatically. This type of tag can also be used in fish to detect swimming behaviour, feeding behaviour and body metabolism status. In the processing and export industry nanobarcoad can be used effectively to observe various aspects of delivery system. Apart from these, nanosensors in processing industry can able to detect any pathogen and temperature charge in the different products to retain their good aesthetic value.

Water Filtration

Nano-based technologies to eliminate contaminant from water, with bio-filter application particularly for ammonia removal are available. Nano-scale powders which are ultrathin in nature also used to remove contaminant from water. These powders can also be used as an effective tool for cleaning up organic pollutant such as to convert simpler carbon compounds which are less toxic.

Nanotechnology for Water Management

Nanotechnology based cleaning substance such as 'Nano-check' is effectively used in fish pond and swimming pools. Nano-checkcontains 40 nm size nanoparticles of lithium based compound which can effectively absorb phosphorus from water. By this way the production of excess algae in the pond can be checked by limiting phosphorus availability. Moreover, nanoscale based weedicides may be useful for its tissue specific property as well as better delivery of the product. It is found to be very effective in large scale water body.


Conventional method of fishing by lures can be improved by the use of nanotechnology. In convectional method the lure are coloured with normal dye which limits the reflection of light to limited extend, thus reduce the catch. When nano-based dyes are used in lure the reflection of the light is found in all direction which result 2 to 3 times more catch. The common nano-film coated in lure is polyimide film.


Nanotechnology is considered as a highly promising device to improve the aquaculture sector further with higher production and nutritional security. Though the nanotechnology is considered as infancy for aquaculture field, it may have the potential to mitigate most of the problems in aquaculture and fisheries with better managerial outcomes in future.


  • Binnig, G. and Rohrer, H. (1986). "Scanning tunneling microscopy", IBM Journal of Research and Development, 30: 4.

  • Rather, M.A.; Sharma, R.; Aklakur, M.; Ahmad, S.; Kumar, N.; Khan, M. and Ramya, V.L. (2011). "Nanotechnology: A Novel Tool for Aquaculture and Fisheries Development: A Prospective Mini-Review", Fisheries and Aquaculture Journal, 16.

  • Florence, A.T.; Hillery, A.M.; Hussain, N. and Jani, P.U. (1995). "Nanoparticles as carriers for oral peptide absorption: studies on particle uptake and fate", Journal of Controlled Release, 36: 39-44.

  • FOE (Friends of the Earth), "Out of the laboratory and onto our plates: Nanotechnology in food and agriculture",, 2008.

  • Apply nanotech to up industrial, agri output, The Daily Star (Bangladesh), April 2012.


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