Application of nuclear physics in agriculture

I am looking for appliction of nuclear physics in agriculture. i have actually found that it is mostly used in Genetically modified crops. These are modified in order to allow them to resist to some change of climat or to adapt a certain region. My problem now is that i did not find used technic, i mean full and detailed physics description of the process. So i someone got a document or has some more information about it, please informe me too.
thank you!


Science Advisor
I am a little dubious about the connection between nuclear physics and genetic modification. Where did you get this idea?
All i read is that samples of seeds are exposed to radioactive radiations for a certain time and hence their properties are modified. Me too i need more details about the technic.


Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
Insights Author
2018 Award
This not nuclear physics, but more biology/chemistry. I'm moving it to biology after a coin-toss.



Science Advisor
Insights Author
I don't think irradiation of food is used to create genetically modified foods. Irradiating a plant would create many mutations, but it is highly unlikely that the mutations would be in the specific gene that the scientists want to modify (plus, this method would not allow the insertion of new genes). The methods used to create genetically modified foods are far more precise and powerful than the very crude method of inducing mutagenesis with radiation.

Irradiation, however, is used to help sterilize foods for shipping and storage. See the following wikipedia article for more:


Science Advisor
Homework Helper
The best way to find examples of techniques, used by researchers, is to go to your college or local library and do a literature search on this topic.
Have you tried that?
If you encounter any difficulties finding what you are looking for at the library, the reference librarian is an excellent resource to help you.

On the net, such information is more sparse, however you could look at references on pubmed. Here are a couple that I noted that mention techniques for inducing mutagenesis using ionizing radiation on plant material." [Broken].
Last edited by a moderator:


Science Advisor
Homework Helper
have actually found that it is mostly used in Genetically modified crops
I think the major use is to kill pathogens and preserve harvested crops - especially soft fruit.
Carbon 14 tagging is very important in breeding or genetically modifing crops. Carbon 14 tagging was extremely important in determining the photosynthesis (Calvin) cycle. I think also using other radioactive tags in fertilizers and nutrients to determine uptake efficiency would be useful.

The Physics Forums Way

We Value Quality
• Topics based on mainstream science
• Proper English grammar and spelling
We Value Civility
• Positive and compassionate attitudes
• Patience while debating
We Value Productivity
• Disciplined to remain on-topic
• Recognition of own weaknesses
• Solo and co-op problem solving