A One Health approach to managing the applications and implications of nanotechnologies in agriculture


The need for appropriate science and regulation to underpin nanosafety is greater than ever as ongoing advances in nanotechnology are rapidly translated into new industrial applications and nano-enabled commercial products. Nevertheless, a disconnect persists between those examining risks to human and environmental health from nanomaterials. This disconnect is not atypical in research and risk assessment and has been perpetuated in the case of engineered nanomaterials by the relatively limited overlap in human and environmental exposure pathways. The advent of agri-nanotechnologies brings both increased need and opportunity to change this status quo as it introduces significant issues of intersectionality that cannot adequately be addressed by current discipline-specific approaches alone. Here, focusing on the specific case of nanoparticles, we propose that a transdisciplinary approach, underpinned by the One Health concept, is needed to support the sustainable development of these technologies.

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Fig. 1: Human and environmental exposure pathways not considering agri-nanotechnology.
Fig. 2
Fig. 3: A possible One Health framework for the risk assessment of agri-nanotechnologies.


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M.D. is grateful for support from the Horizon 2020 NANoREG2 projects (H2020-NMP-2014-2015- 646221) and RiskGONE (H2020-NMBP-TO-IND-2018-814425). F.W. acknowledges support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme for the New HoRRIzon project under grant agreement no. 741402. E.D. gratefully acknowledges support from the Australian Research Council through the ARC Future Fellowship Scheme (FT130101003). We thank M. Cicera for refining the figures.

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Correspondence to Enzo Lombi.

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Journal peer review information: Nature Nanotechnology thanks Kristen Lyons and the other anonymous reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Lombi, E., Donner, E., Dusinska, M. et al. A One Health approach to managing the applications and implications of nanotechnologies in agriculture. Nat. Nanotechnol. 14, 523–531 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41565-019-0460-8

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