Agricultural nanodiagnostics for plant diseases: recent advances and challenges
Crop diseases caused by pathogenic microorganisms pose severe threats to the global food supply. Effective diagnostic tools for timely determination of plant diseases become essential to the assurance of agricultural sustainability and global food security. Nucleic acid- and antibody-based molecular assays are gold-standard methodologies for the diagnosis of plant diseases, but the analyzing procedures are complex and laborious. The prominent physical or chemical properties of nanomaterials have enabled their use as innovative and high-performance diagnostic tools for numerous plant pathogens and other important disease biomarkers. Engineered nanomaterials have been incorporated into traditional laboratory molecular assays or sequencing technologies that offer notable enhancement in sensitivity and selectivity. Meanwhile, nanostructure-supported noninvasive detection tools combined with portable imaging devices (e.g., smartphones) have paved the way for fast and on-site diagnosis of plant diseases and long-term monitoring of plant health conditions, especially in resource-poor settings.