ABSTRACT: In this proof-of-concept study, an agricultural biocide (imidacloprid) was effectively loaded into the mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs) with different pore sizes, morphologies and mesoporous structures for termite control. This resulted in nanoparticles with a large surface area, tunable pore diameter and small particle size, which are ideal carriers for adsorption and controlled release of imidacloprid. The effect of pore size, surface area and mesoporous structure on uptake and release of imidacloprid was systematically studied. It was found that the adsorption amount and release profile of imidacloprid were dependent on the type of mesoporous structure and surface area of particles. Specifically, MCM-48 type mesoporous silica nanoparticles with a three dimensional (3D) open network structure and high surface area displayed the highest adsorption capacity compared to other types of silica nanoparticles. Release of imidacloprid from these nanoparticles was found to be controlled over 48 hours. Finally, in vivo laboratory testing on termite control proved the efficacy of these nanoparticles as delivery carriers for biopesticides. We believe that the present study will contribute to the design of more effective controlled and targeted delivery for other biomolecules.
Nanoscale 12/2011; 4(3):970-5. · 5.91 Impact Factor