Study ranks Brazil in 9th place in scientific articles and patents for fertilizers based in nanotechnology.

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Published on Wednesday, September 20th, 2012 

Brazil is ranked in the 9th place among 10 countries with the largest number of patent applications for products developed on  the basis of nanotechnology applied to fertilizers. This is the result of a 11 months study by a group of analysts and researchers at EMBRAPA Instrumentation (São Carlos, SP), which will be presented at the Fifth of Academic Meeting on Intellectual Property, Innovation and Development, to be held  from September 19, to September 21 in Rio de Janeiro – State of Rio de Janeiro. 

China and the United States have been mentioned in the study on the production of knowledge and technologies, also for being leaders in the production and consumption of fertilizers. According to the monitoring, Brazil drew with Australia in 9th position, both in number of patents filed and in the publication of scientific articles. The country is the 4th fertilizer consumer and the 5th producer of phosphate fertilizers. 

Ms. Sandra Protter Gouvea, who is both supervisor of the Department for Management and Prospecting Technology Assessment Department and analyst of  Intellectual Property at  EMBRAPA Instrumentation, and who has led the study, explains that the monitoring ultimately aims at reorienting the use of researches in progress, obtaining results, avoiding duplication of efforts in Research & Development, promoting a better integration of technology in the supply chain, and making a strategic decision about where (in which countries) results should be protected as patent inventions. “The information gathered in the study will be provided to EMBRAPA as guidance to management  actions of Research and Development, of the  intellectual property and of technology transfer,” she says.

EMBRAPA Instrumentation headquarters the National Nanotechnology Laboratory applied to Agribusiness and has as one of its lines of research the nanotechnology applied to fertilizers.

According to Sandra, the study allowed to evaluate the characteristics of this area of ​​knowledge – nanotechnology – such as the temporal evolution of efforts in R & D, leading countries in R & D and market consumption and production. “The increased production of items such as tank technologies in nanotechnology applied to fertilizer, is consistent with the increase in global demand for fertilizers, indicative of the technological promise in meeting global demand for food production,” he says. The increase also reflects the investment in R & D in the area of ​​nanotechnology. In 2005, there were 7.5 billion and in 2007, 12 billion from private investment funds, according to 2010 data from the Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade (MDIC).

The technology monitoring process in nanotechnology applied to fertilizers is being conducted on a global data bases – patent, articles and market – includes bibliometric indicators as tools for the process and analysis of data. Through the study, approximately 369 patent documents have been collected. According to the study coordinator, the recovered technologies are variable, representing the use of products and processes involving nanotechnology, such as tunnels compounds containing nanostructures or compounds containing associated nanomaterials in order to slow or to control the release of fertilizers or fertilizer mixtures, and the use of processes or products involving nanofilters or nanostructures to obtain compounds sought to be applied as fertilizers.

The monitoring technology project began in October 2011 and should be completed next semester, “but the idea is that monitoring becomes a corporate action of EMBRAPA, in topics of interest,” expects Sandra. The study group also includes the researcher Caue Ribeiro, the analyst Luciana Poppi and the  patent supervisory of the Coordination of Intellectual Property of the Business Department (SNE) of EMBRAPA, Luciana Figueiredo Harumi Morimoto.

The study is part of the INFOAGRO project, conducted by the EMBRAPA’s Business Department and has as the main purpose of assisting the research and technology transfer actions in the Company, through the use of information technology to monitor the nanotechnology and biotechnology areas.


Data information of  the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO, 2010) and the National Association for the Promotion of Fertilizers (ANDA) reports on global trends for the consumption of fertilizers have been taken into consideration as basis for discussion of the study results. According to FAO, the world consumption of fertilizers was estimated at 161.7 million tons in 2009, and it is expected to have reached 169.7 million tons in 2010. Moreover, the global demand for fertilizer nutrients is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 2.6% between 2010 and 2014. In 2009, China stood out as the largest consumer of fertilizers, followed by India and the United States. Brazil ranked fourth.

Joana Silva  MTb 19554

Embrapa Instrumentação

(16) 21072901 (16) 21072901 São Carlos (SP)

Marcos Esteves (MTb 4505/14/DF)
Secretaria de Comunicação – Secom
Tel.: (61) 3448-1931 (61) 3448-1931 Skype: marcos.esteves1972



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