Nanosensors are emerging as a promising tool for food, agriculture, and energy applications. Compared with traditional sensors and their shortcomings they offer significant improvements in selectivity, speed, low-cost, near real-time detection, and sensitivity. Nanosensors are of three types-
Nanomaterials having high electrical conductivity reduced upon binding or adsorption of a molecule. Once that molecule is detected, a chemical nanosensor detects this change in the electrical conductivity of the nanomaterial. The mechanism of action of mechanical nanosensors is different. When the material is physically manipulated, it invokes a detectable response which causes a change in electrical conductivity further detected by the mechanical sensor. Nanosensors can support sustainable agriculture for enhancing crop productivity, improve the disadvantages of food packaging through their unique chemical and electrooptical properties. They reduce the frequency of food-borne pathogens and can be used in the food industry for the detection of microbes, contaminants, pollutants, and food freshness. They are able to detect the presence of gasses, aromas, chemical contaminants, pathogens, and even changes in environmental conditions. Engineered nanosensors have also been developed to monitor moisture, soil pH, crop diseases, growth, nutrient efficiency, and environmental conditions in the field, detect chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides, as well as pathogens in trace amounts in food and agricultural systems. Many other nanomaterials such as carbon nanotube, copper, gold, and silver nanoparticles have also been utilized to develop nanosensors for detecting the presence of plant viruses, real-time monitoring of environmental conditions, level of soil nutrients, and crop health and growth. The quality of agricultural produce can be monitored by nanobarcodes and nano-processing. Nanosensors are capable to monitor and analyse micro-organisms and toxic-chemical compounds in environmental samples.
Nanosensors have some unique properties like sensitivity and selectivity that can offer various advantages such as it can detect disease, toxins, or biological threats at earlier stages which may create significant improvements in biomedical applications in the near future. Nanosensors are nanoparticle-based devices working at the nanoscale size and have the ability to sense a different kind of signals like force, electrochemical, or biological substances. They show promise as theranostic tools by identifying and treating disease simultaneously and further as nanoprobes for diagnostic imaging and disease monitoring. Recently, nanosensing has emerged as an interesting and dynamic field to study. It is a highly multidisciplinary field and has a wider range of applications. Nanosensors are specific that is imparted by targeting ligands which are directly conjugated to the nanoparticles. Ligand attracts a particular marker of interest depending on its functionality, while the nanoparticles contribute the sensitivity, and convert the signals from one form to the other acting as a detector for generated signals.
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