Engineering Atrazine Loaded Poly (lactic- co-glycolic Acid) Nanoparticles to Ameliorate Environmental Challenges

Brian Schnoor, Ahmad Elhendawy, Suzanna Joseph, Mark Putman, Randall Chacón-Cerdas, Dora Flores-Mora, Felipe Bravo-Moraga, Fernando Gonzalez-Nilo, Carolina Salvador-Morales

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


The use of herbicides plays a vital role in controlling weeds and conserving crops; however, its usage generates both environmental and economic problems. For example, herbicides pose a financial issue as farmers must apply large quantities to protect crops due to absorption rates of less than 0.1%. Therefore, there is a great need for the development of new methods to mitigate these issues. Here, we report for the first time the synthesis of poly(lactic-co-glycolic-acid) (PLGA) nanoherbicides loaded with atrazine as an active ingredient. We used potato plants as a biological model to assess the herbicidal activity of the engineered PLGA nanoherbicides. Our method produced nanoherbicides with an average size of 110 ± 10 nm prior to lyophilization. Fifty percent of the loaded atrazine in the PLGA matrix is released in 72 h. Furthermore, we performed Monte Carlo simulations to determine the chemical interaction among atrazine, PLGA, and the solvent system. One of the most significant outcomes of these simulations was to find the formation of a hydrogen bond of 1.9 Å between PLGA and atrazine, which makes this interaction very stable. Our in vitro findings showed that as atrazine concentration is increased in PLGA nanoparticles, potato plants undergo a significant decrease in stem length, root length, fresh weight, dry weight, and the number of leaves, with root length being the most affected. These experimental results suggest the herbicidal effectiveness of atrazine-loaded PLGA nanoherbicides in inhibiting the growth of the potato plant. Hence, we present the proof-of-concept for using PLGA nanoherbicides as an alternative method for inhibiting weed growth. Future studies will involve a deep understanding of the mechanism of plant-nanoherbicide interaction as well as the role of PLGA as a growth potentiator.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7889-7898
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number30
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018


  • atrazine
  • environmental technology
  • nanoherbicides
  • nanoparticles
  • poly(lactic- co-glycolic-acid) (PLGA)
  • polymers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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