2023 HLA Spring Seminar: Dr. Kurt Ristroph – HLA Happenings

2023 HLA Spring Seminar: Dr. Kurt Ristroph

Dr. Kurt Ristroph smiling at camera.

Dr. Kurt Ristroph, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Purdue University

Thursday January 26th, at 3:30pm, HORT 117 or Zoom

 “Organic nanocarrier formulations for improved uptake and translocation of agrochemicals following foliar administration” 


Foliar administration of bioactive agents to plants is a highly desirable but historically inefficient method of promoting agrochemical internalization or trafficking to specific tissues. Many agrochemicals, when applied foliarly in the form of an aqueous dispersion, are poorly internalized into leaves and do not transit efficiently to other organs. Technology to improve agrochemical uptake and systemic distribution to vasculature, roots, or combinations of these is therefore highly desirable in the development of next-generation fertilizers, fungicides, pesticides, and other bioactives.

This talk will focus on my group’s work adapting Flash NanoPrecipitation (FNP), a demonstrated pharmaceutical nanocarrier formulation technique, to encapsulate agrochemicals into organic nanocarriers for improved administration. We prepared a suite of nanocarriers spanning a range of sizes and surface chemistries and with a model agrochemical core ‘payload,’ then studied their uptake and translocation in 4-week old tomato plants. Internalization efficiencies up to 85% and translocation efficiencies up to 32% were observed, including significant nanocarrier trafficking to stem and roots that suggests a high degree of phloem loading. Our results shed light on the optimal properties of organic core-shell nanocarriers for foliar delivery and take steps toward adapting an industrially-viable large-scale pharmaceutical nanoformulation process to applications in agriculture and plant health. 

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