The use of biosensors in agriculture has been a major development of human civilization, including the production of crops and raising livestock to achieve people's sustainable goals for food. Pathogens have been recognized as one of the major factors leading to a reduction in beneficial food production. Hence there is a need to eliminate the effects of pathogens.
The traditional method of detecting pathogens is time-consuming and costly for farmers. The most common methods for the detection of pathogens in agriculture and food sectors are polymerase chain reaction (PCR), culture and colony counting, immunology based method, hand-held immuno-chromatographic assays (HHIA). Despite the real need to obtain analytical results in the shortest possible time, these traditional methods of detecting bacterial infections can take up to 7 to 8 days. This has spurred researchers' efforts for the advent of a new technology called biosensors. In 1956, Leland C. Clark Jr. invented the first true biosensor to detect oxygen, hence he is called “father of the biosensor".
Biosensor is a compact analytical instrument used to analyze, detect and record biological data using electric current. It is designed to generate discrete or continuous digital electronic signals. The device consists of a transducer and a material containing a biologically active element or enzyme, nucleic acid and an antibody that allows the analysis to be detected by specific interactions. The applications of biosensors mostly include the investigation of ecological pollution control in both agriculture and food sector. This instrument is mainly used in agricultural fields and food industries to determine the concentration of chemical and other organic substances. The major objectives of biosensors are quality of life, disease detection, environmental and soil pollution reduction and monitoring. The main characteristics of biosensors are sensitivity, cost, reproducibility and stability. The biosensor enhances product safety and reduces cost and assay-time.
Biosensor technology is the powerful alternative to conventional analytical technique, harnessing the specificity and sensitivity of biological systems in small and low cost devices. The application of biosensors can be used efficiently to sense a variety of fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, pathogens, moisture and soil pH. Simultaneous appropriate and controlled use of biosensors can support sustainable agriculture to increase crop productivity.
Biosensors Uses in Agriculture
Agriculture includes the production of crops and the rearing of livestock. These elements play a major role in our daily life. These products have always been disposed of for harm in the form of insects and diseases. Therefore, there is a need for early detection in agriculture to prevent crop diseases, pest damage, weed infestation, water shortage or surplus, flood management and crop nutrition measures and plant population etc. The agriculture industry has been dependent for a long time. On human expertise for quality control. Biosensors are fast, reliable and accurate analytical instruments designed for the measurement of various components of agricultural samples. Therefore, biosensors can meet all the demands to accelerate the production of agricultural commodities. Based on the principle of converting biological signal into electronic signal, various types of biosensors apply it in agriculture.
Types of Biosensors in Agriculture
There is an increasing need to measure the accuracy of soil, water and air due to greater public awareness of environmental issues and stricter legislative regulations. Biosensors capable of quickly detecting an organism are important in environmental monitoring pathogens. Biosensor types are classified on the basis of sensor devices and biological material. Some types are as follows:
? Electrochemical biosensor – It is a simple device which measures the measurement of electric current, ionic or by conductance changes conceded by bio electrodes.
? Whole cell biosensor – In this type, whole cell or organelles are used as a biological component. These cells are cheap and have a longer lifetime and less sensitive to inhibition,
pH and temperature variations.
? Amperometric biosensors – These are self-contained integrated devices based on the measurement of current resulting from the oxidation or reduction of electro active biological
? Potentiometric biosensors – This form of biosensors provides a logarithmic reply by means of a high energetic range
? Optical biosensor – This type detects how much light is produced or absorbed through the
Advantages of Biosensors in Agriculture
1. It gives specific and accurate readings.
2. It is easy to handle.
3. It can also measure non-polar molecules.
4. There is no need for continuous monitoring.
5. It is a sophisticated tool for detection and monitoring of phytopathogens.
Food losses due to crop infections from pathogens such as bacteria, viruses and fungi have been a persistent issue in agriculture for centuries around the world. Novel biosensors are needed for crop growth, harvesting and post-harvest losses as well as maximizing productivity and ensuring agricultural sustainability, enhanced disease detection and prevention in crops. The key features of biosensors are stability, cost, sensitivity and reproducibility. The need for rapid online and accurate sensing opens up opportunities for biosensors in many different agricultural sectors to perform in situ analysis of pollutants in crops and soil, to detect and identify infectious diseases in crops and livestock.