On November 3rd Professor Wendy Umberger, Director of the Centre for Global Food and Resources (GFAR), participated as a discussant at the AmCham Adelaide Business School Luncheon focusing on ‘What is Nanotechnology and Why Should I Care?’. GFAR researcher, Rohan Yargop, attended the luncheon at the Intercontinental Adelaide, and provides a brief summary of the event below.
Nanotechnology is a sophisticated and hi-tech application of technological research that will soon be finding its way into day-to-day applications of normal human life. Experts from diverse areas were invited to discuss the evolution of this science its various attributes and applications. These included Prof. Mark Hutchinson who is the Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics at the University of Adelaide. Mark shared his research on the use of nanotechnology in the field of medical science for the development of drugs and for detecting the spread of diseases like cancer in the human body. Dr. Anne Collins was next, sharing her experience of commercialising the research that Mark has been doing in the field.
Moving away from the medical sciences, Patrick Rechsteiner from Australian Fashion Labels spoke on the use of nanotechnology in the fashion and retail industry, right from its use in mapping in-store garment movement to weaving nanoparticles into fabric to allow the garment-wearer to control their smartphone just by touching their sleeves.
He was followed by Prof. Wendy Umberger who presented her views on the applications of nanotechnology in the food and agriculture sector. Nanotechnology has made its way into the fertilizer industry, where nanoformulations of chemicals used in fertilizers and pesticides are developed for crop improvement, increasing productivity, and post-harvest management which is contributing largely to the field of precision agriculture. Wendy also discussed how this technology is being used to increase shelf-life of prepared products, helping to keep food fresh until it reaches markets where infrastructure is underdeveloped.
It was evident from the speakers’ views that nanotechnology is an important innovation and is set to contribute immensely to diverse fields in the near future.