ProActive's Nano Power Powder (NPP) is a broad spectrum powdered nutrient additive designed to be added to water and sprayed directly on to a plant’s leaves as a foliar feed. Plants are able to absorb essential elements directly through their leaves, the absorption taking place through their stomata, their epidermis, in addition to uptaking nutrients via their stems.
The powder itself is made up of 16 micronutrients, which are designed to supplement the plant’s ability to grow and bloom by feeding the plant via the stomata - the most efficient type of foliar application - and providing the leaves with CO2.
As a result of NPP’s patented manufacturing process nanoparticles of calcite are produced, and Proactive Nano Power Powder has a clear effect on CO2 content inside leaves, leading to an improved performance within the plant.
Proactive Nano Power Powder contains calcium which will improve yield quality, and silica to increase the plant’s natural resistance to environmental stresses. Finally Nano Power Powder is allowed for use in organic farming, in accordance with the EC regulation n° 834/2007.
There are various other products on the market which carry the “Nano” label in their name, but none (as far as we're aware) are quite like NPP. Let's be clear what NPP is: this is a Powder with “Nano Power” not a Nano Powder isolate. It is important to know the difference, and why we have written this article.
Firstly Nano Power Powder’s cocktail of elements provides the plant with the associated benefits of a wide range of elements when compared to the many “isolates” on the market (which for example might contain just iron).
Secondly other Nano product manufacturers tend to fixate on particle size and therefore tend to link quality to particle size analysis. Nano powder must have at least 50% of its content with a particle size below 100 nanometers (nm); this is the legal definition but doesn’t take aggregation into account. As soon as aggregation occurs - once the powder has been dispersed in a solution or an organic solvent - the state of the powder beforehand is kind of irrelevant.
Thirdly the chemical nature of the major element brought by so called nano powders is far more relevant to the efficacy of a product than particle size. Other manufacturers make an issue of particle size without explaining how the solid element they apply to the leaf is made assimilable and usable by plants.
It would be interesting to know the chemical composition of nano powders containing elements such as Iron, which is obviously in solid form. Depending on their chemical composition they might not be transformed absolutely by the leaf enzymatic complex. Thus their effectiveness has to be called into question, and they could even become harmful to the plant if accumulated during multiple applications.
Aggregation is a term which describes a cluster of objects or particles that have come, or been brought, together. This is what happens when you add a “nano powder” to a solution. The final result is a solution with aggregated elements or an overall increase in their original “nano” size. Therefore, measuring a particle size BEFORE it's been added to a solution is a bit like measuring the size of an expanding material before it's even started to expand – i.e. a futile exercise.
Nano Powder blended with other non-nano elements acts in a similar way to when it’s added to liquid solution – the smaller nano elements attach themselves to the larger elements. So while the distribution “Nano Particles of Calcite” is not an exact science due to the differently-sized elements attaching themselves to one another, the same equally applies to “Nano isolates” due to this same process of aggregation.
Nano power powder contains nano particles of calcite and this can be demonstrated, (see images below) where as regarding other nutrient manufacturers that have used nano particles in the ingredients list and added it to a solution of any kind, it basically at this point is no longer a nano particle due to aggregation caused by placing the nano particle into the solution. In effect, this makes all liquid based nano fertilisers/additives a myth, as the longer a nano particle is submerged in a solution the larger it becomes over time!
The aim of using a nano-powder is to introduce a solid element to the leaf via the leaf stomata. Needless to say if it’s not solid then we’re talking about a foliar SOLUBLE nutrient.
Taking into consideration that only the Calcite in NPP is “Nano”, and the other 14 nutrients are of different sizes, Nano or not Nano isn’t the question. The question is: are particles in suspension small enough to penetrate through the stomata? (Because of course, that is what we say the product is designed to do!)
The size of stomata can vary massively when open and closed (obviously!). Let's take for example a plant where the stomata size (in microns) has a dimension of 16µ/9µ while closed and 37µ/26µ when open. In other words the open stomata dimension in nanometres is 37000 nm / 26000nm and the definition on nano powder says you should NOT have particles larger than 100 nanometres. As you can clearly see with the lab images below: the nano particles of calcite are in fact nano in size but the other elements are so minute that they can also be assimilated easily via the leaf’s stomata.
The key to the success of Nano Power Powder is that CaCO3 penetrates the leaf through the stomata as a solid element and whilst there, is modified through the plant enzymatic system, resulting in the production of CO2 + CaO. NPP is above all a solid element. After penetrating leaves through their stomata, it is transformed into C02 and an assimilable element such as calcium oxide, and will immediately strengthen the cell walls of the leaves.