Chitosan/tripolyphosphate nanoparticles loaded with paraquat herbicide: An environmentally safer alternative for weed control
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Paraquat is a fast acting nonselective contact herbicide that is extensively used worldwide. However, the aqueous solubility and soil sorption of this compound can cause problems of toxicity in nontarget organisms. This work investigates the preparation and characterization of nanoparticles composed of chitosan and sodium tripolyphosphate (TPP) to produce an efficient herbicidal formulation that was less toxic and could be used for safer control of weeds in agriculture. The toxicities of the formulations were evaluated using cell culture viability assays and the Allium cepa chromosome aberration test. The herbicidal activity was investigated in cultivations of maize (Zea mays) and mustard (Brassica sp.), and soil sorption of the nanoencapsulated herbicide was measured. The efficiency association of paraquat with the nanoparticles was 62.6 +/- 0.7%. Encapsulation of the herbicide resulted in changes in its diffusion and release as well as its sorption by soil. Cytotoxicity and genotoxicity assays showed that the nanoencapsulated herbicide was less toxic than the pure compound, indicating its potential to control weeds while at the same time reducing environmental impacts. Measurements of herbicidal activity showed that the effectiveness of paraquat was preserved after encapsulation. It was concluded that the encapsulation of paraquat in nanoparticles can provide a useful means of reducing adverse impacts on human health and the environment, and that the formulation therefore has potential for use in agriculture. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.