Nanobioweaponry for War and Agriculture - Implications of Microencapsulation and Nanoencapsulation

Topics Covered


Possible Disadvantages of Using Nanocapsules and Microcapsules

Microencapsulation Could Be Used in Bioweapons - Says the Sunshine Project


Nanocapsules and microcapsules make an ideal vehicle for delivering chemical and biological weapons because they can carry substances intended to harm humans as easily as they can carry substances intended to kill weeds and pests. By virtue of their small size, DNA nanocapsules may be able to enter the body undetected by the immune system and then become activated by the cells’ own mechanisms to produce toxic compounds. The increased bioavailability and stability of nano-encapsulated substances in the environment may offer advantages to the Gene Giants, but the same features could make them extremely potent vehicles for biological warfare. In addition, because of their increased bioavailability only a small quantity of the chemical is needed. 

Possible Disadvantages of Using Nanocapsules and Microcapsules

When programmed for external triggers such as ultrasound or magnetic frequencies, activation can be controlled remotely, suggesting a number of grim scenarios. Could agrochemical/seed corporations remotely activate triggers to cause crop failure if the farmer infringes the company’s patent or fails to follow prescribed production practices? What if nanocapsules containing a potent compound are added to a regional water supply by a foreign aggressor or terrorist group?   

Microencapsulation Could Be Used in Bioweapons - Says the Sunshine Project

According to the Sunshine Project, the “Australia Group” (a group of 24 industrialized nations) recently proposed that microencapsulation technologies be added to a common list of technologies banned from export to ‘untrustworthy’ governments for fear of use as bioweapons. Documents obtained by Sunshine Project also show that the US military funded the University of New Hampshire in 1999-2000 to develop microcapsules containing corrosive and anaesthetic (that is, to produce unconsciousness) chemicals. The documents describe how the microcapsules could be fired at a crowd, corrode protective gear and then break open in contact with the moisture on human skin.    

Source: ‘Down on the Farm: the Impact of Nano-Scale Technologies on Food and Agriculture’, ETC Group Report, November 2004.

For more information on this source please visit the ETC Group.

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