Professor Christy Haynes delivers TEDxMinneapolis talk: “How nanoparticles can help solve the global food crisis”

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (12/28/2022) – This fall, Professor Christy Haynes delivered a TEDxMinneapolis talk on a key solution to food insecurity. Her talk, “How nanoparticles can help solve the global food crisis,” outlines the Haynes Group’s research on the positive effects of silicic acid on agricultural outcomes.

Haynes explains that Haynes Group researchers design silica nanoparticles to infiltrate plants, interact with water in the environment, and dissolve to release silicic acid, which the plant can use to protect itself from viruses, fungi, and pest attacks. The group hypothesizes that this boost of silicic acid will allow plants to live healthier and longer and produce more food. The Haynes Group collaborates with the NSF Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology to perform greenhouse plant studies and field studies. Early trials have produced encouraging results that indicate the research has the potential to play a critical role in solving global food insecurity. 

“Nanoparticles have tons of potential to decrease crop loss … I know farmers are already embracing advanced technology in terms of robots, and drones, and in-plant sensors. I encourage them to embrace this advance as well … Let’s use all of the hard work that has been done on basic nanotechnology research to feed our global family for years to come,” says Haynes in her talk.

Watch the full talk on YouTube, where it already has more than 3,900 views, to discover the Haynes Group’s promising preliminary data and learn more about their research methods.

Christy Haynes has been a member of the University of Minnesota Department of Chemistry faculty since 2005. She is a Distinguished McKnight University Professor, Associate Department Head, and Associate Director for NSF Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology. The Haynes Group is made up of 11 students and one postdoctoral researcher; their research focuses on applications of analytical chemistry in environmental and nanoscale materials science.