HYPATIA – Romancing the stone: size-controlled HYdroxyaPATies for a sustainable Agriculture


Fondazione Cariplo, Call 2016 Ricerca Integrata sulle Biotecnologie Industriali e sulla bioeconomia, Progetto N. 2016-0648


According to the United Nations, world Ppopulation is prospected to increase up to 9 billions within 2015; this is one of the most challenging future issues at the global scale. Besides an overall optimization of the entire food chain, an increase in food production is also required. Current fertilization practices are inefficient and strongly harmful for the environment; the intensive use of conventional fertilizers is one of the major anthropogenic factors of the eutrophication of water bodies, besides relying on the wild exploitation of natural resources (phosphate ores).
HYPATIA is a multidisciplinary project aiming at integrating nanotechnology in agriculture through the development of smart nanofertilizers, efficient and non-toxic. Based on calcium phosphate nanoparticles (intrinsically P abundant), the nanofertilizers are engineered to incorporate N (E-nAp). The slow release of macronutrients (P and N) is expected to favour their efficient and controlled absorption by plants. The project deals with the topic on different interdisciplinary aspects: the low-cost and scale-up nanofertilizer preparation for industrial production; the development of advanced physico-chemical characterization techniques for nano-engineered materials; growth-chamber tests on wheat plants; correlation between structural and functional properties.
HYPATIA is a collaboration among IC-CNR, University of Insubria, University of Granada and
IFAPA (Instituto de Investigación y Formación Agraria y Pesquera – Cordoba). IC-CNR performs WAXTS experiments on E-nAp at the MS-X04SA@SLS beamline, develops DSE-based models for quantitative analysis of E-nAp in terms of crystal structure, doped-induced lattice distortions, size and morphology; investigates the correlation between structural and functional properties.

More info is available at  


IC-CNR and To.Sca.Lab,
via Valleggio 11, Como
22100 Italy
Phone +39 031-2386635
email: antonella.guagliardi@ic.cnr.it