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The Swedes create an “electronic soil” that helps plants grow

The Swedes create an “electronic soil” that helps plants grow

a Hydroponics It consists of growing plants without land. This technique uses only water and a place to attach the roots. This concept is already used by many farms around the world, which has the advantage of not being dependent on climatic and environmental conditions. Because these crops are kept in greenhouses, they are also pest-free.

But there are, of course, drawbacks. Space is very limited and therefore less effective for commercial purposes. Moreover, hydroponic spaces are more expensive to maintain, with high energy consumption. Plants grow more slowly compared to traditional agriculture.

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Swedish scientists are trying to solve this last problem, and have developed a type of “bioelectronic soil,” which they call “eSoil.”

Researchers at Linköping University placed the substance in a hydroponic barley farm and the results were excellent! Within 15 days, the seedlings grew, on average, 50% more than other seedlings without E-soil.

What it consists of and how it works

  • Soil consists of organic materials mixed with a conductive polymer called BidotWhich can be found in sensors and OLED displays.
  • This “bioelectronic soil” sends electrical signals to the roots.
  • Don't worry, this doesn't shock the plant; eSoil operates at a very small voltage, about half a volt.
  • The effect of stimulation on barley seedlings has been described as “constant” and “transient.” A study published in the US National Academy of Sciences.
  • The diagram below shows how the experiment is conducted.
Image: Disclosure/U.S. National Academy of Sciences

Other uses

Scientists have stated that more testing will be needed before the product is launched. They want to understand whether the E-soil itself was responsible for the growth or if it was electrical stimulation.

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The idea is also to consider expanding the use of the substance beyond aquatic crops.

If used on conventional farms, for example, e-soil could become a more environmentally friendly alternative to fertilisers, according to the scientists responsible.

Information from the site Engadget.