Uses of Radioisotope in Agriculture

Uses of Radioisotope in Agriculture

Pest Control

  1. Male insect is sterilised by exposing to radioactive radiation and then released back to the ecosystem.
  2. This can ensure that their reproducing effort do not generate new generation and hence reduces the population of the insect.


  1. The metabolism of phosphorus by plants can be studied using phosphate fertilisers that contain phosphorus-32. 
  2. A small amount of phosphorus-32 is used in fertilisers. 
  3. The radiation produced by phosphorus-32decay is detected by a Geiger-Muller counter. 
  4. This method can trace the passage of phosphate ions in plants.
  5. Carbon-14 is used to study the passage of carbon during photosynthesis in plants.

Develop New Species of Plant

  1. Radioactive radiation is targeted to the seeds of plants and hence causes mutation to the genes.
  2. By chance, this may develop some superior agricultural products.

Preserve Food

  1. The gamma rays from cobalt-60 are used to kill bacteria in food to make fresh vegetables and fruits last longer without any change in quality, flavour and texture of food.
  2. Gamma rays are used to inhibit budding in potatoes.