Developing Quartz And Soil Assays To Measure The Efficacy Of The Nanocoated Herbicide


The METRC Centre combines the expertise of 8 universities in the area of soft nanotechnology research and applies this to industry. This is in a range of markets, including home and personal care, medicine and energy. Since 2007 METRC have generated over £10 million of research income and worked with over 80 business, including QuantuMDx.



Oxford Advanced Surfaces (OAS) is developing a way of nanocoating herbicide particles to dramatically increase the efficiency of the herbicide. The company needed to collaborate with an expert in transport of particles through soil so they contacted METRC. METRC introduced OAS to Prof Steve Banwart, Dr Maria Romero-González and colleagues at the Environmental Engineering Science (EES) group of the University of Sheffield who are world renowned experts in this area.


METRC and OAS invested in a one year research project with Prof Banwart and Dr Romero-González to develop suitable quartz and soil assays to measure the efficacy of the nanocoated herbicide.



At the end of this initial project the two partners extended their relationship to undertake controlled greenhouse trials of the OAS product. This trial showed that the OAS product killed 20% of plants after 10 days, compared to just 2% of plants killed by a standard commercial herbicide.


“We have found the collaboration with Sheffield that was instigated by METRC to be tremendously valuable. It has allowed us to better develop our product while also proving the performance. It has also been great to use the team at Sheffield to bounce ideas off of and this collaboration has significantly strengthened our internal knowledge.”

Dr Gareth Wakefield, Technical Director, Oxford Advanced Surfaces

“The collaboration with OAS was incredibly successful for both partners. We formed a very close working relationship with OAS where OAS staff worked in our lab and our staff worked at OAS’s lab. It was great to see the work of our group being applied to helping OAS to prove that their technology works.”

Dr Maria Romero-González, EES Group, University of Sheffield