Scientists Unleash Electronic Soil, Promising 50% Faster Crop Growth

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News in brief:
– A Swedish research team have introduced an electronic soil that accelerates plant growth by up to 50% in 15 days, a groundbreaking development in agriculture.

– The technology, tailored for hydroponic systems, delivers electrical stimulation to plant roots to improve its growth.

Swedish researchers have unveiled an electronic soil that spurs plant growth by up to 50% in just 15 days. According to a news report, the team described the technology as a groundbreaking development in agriculture, capable of revolutionising crop yields.

Dubbed ‘eSoil’, this innovative cultivation substrate, tailored for hydroponic systems, delivers electrical stimulation directly to plant roots which can significantly accelerates their development.

The research is published in the prestigious journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and is a potential game-changer for food security amidst a growing global population and intensifying climate pressures.

Associate Professor at Linköping University and lead researcher on the project, Eleni Stavrinidou, said the development owes to the fact that the the world population is booming, and climate change is a looming threat. She further explained that traditional methods simply won’t be enough to meet global food demands, which is where eSoil and hydroponics come in.

Already, international institutions have lamented the connudrum that food production faces. There is a need to grow more food with less resources, which are depleting quickly. The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) projected that over 90% could become degraded by 2050.

Hydroponics replaces soil with a nutrient-rich water solution and a supportive substrate, maximizing water efficiency and nutrient delivery. The researchers say that already used for crops like lettuce and herbs, grains like barley typically haven’t thrived in this soil-less environment.

However, their study proves that this can change. Barley seedlings nurtured in eSoil and subjected to gentle electrical currents exhibited a remarkable 50% growth boost compared to conventionally grown counterparts. This finding paves the way for expanding hydroponics to include staple grains, potentially enhancing global food production.

Stavrinidou adds that the closed-loop nature of hydroponics minimises water waste and nutrient runoff, making it a sustainable alternative to traditional farming. Additionally, she explains that while vertical farming towers maximize space, eSoil could further enhance the ability to grow more food in less space.

However, scientist have opined that while further research is needed, the implications of eSoil are vast. They posit that the potentials gains, from boosting food security in resource-scarce regions to enabling urban agriculture, hold immense promise for a greener, more sustainable future of food production.

Joseph Akahome
Joseph Akahome
Joseph O Akahome (OJ) is a writer, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Literature from the University of Benin. He is an avid agriculturist, with a bias for poultry and an insatiable appetite for chicken wings. When he is neither reading nor researching, he likes to spend recreational time playing board games, or swimming in serene forested lakes.

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