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Plasma Agriculture #SciChallenge2017


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One of the biggest problems of modern world is agriculture. Population of the world is currently growing. Unevenly distributed population and increase in the number of large cities are just a couple of the causes of the world's problems with hunger and bad nutrition. That is one of the reasons why major companies are building skyscrapers where they will cultivate plants which are needed in daily nutrition. As there are so many people living in very small area, these plants need to be cultivated quickly.
Plants can not increase their growth speed, so we wanted to find a solution. Genetic therapy was not considered as it is very expensive. We came up with an idea to treat seeds with non-thermal plasma, as it is very easy to produce it.

We are participating in #scichallenge2017 in hope to contribute to the development of agricultural engineering with our work.

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Published in: Science

Plasma Agriculture #SciChallenge2017

  1. 1. Magda Topić, Dominik Matišin, Filip Kusetić Mihaela Marceljak Ilić, M.Sc.;Marko Movre, M.Sc. XV. gimnazija, Zagreb Project “The star is born”, Institute of Physics, Zagreb
  2. 2. Introduction problems in the modern world: • hunger and inefficient agriculture • increased need for food supplies solutions: • increase in the growth speed of plants • increase of the number of fruits • vertical farming
  3. 3. Plasma • electrically neutral, fourth state of matter; ionized gas • thermal and nonthermal plasma • nonthermal plasma - used in the research (atmospheric pressure, low pressure) • any plasma that is not in thermodynamic equilibrium • made by high electric charge or strong lasers
  4. 4. Plasma agriculture plasma is effective in various domains: • sterilization, disinfection • affecting the structure of large molecules • surface modification for water uptake • signaling ⟶ HYPOTHESIS: Plasma can enhance the growth speed of plants.
  5. 5. Plants Garlic (Allium sativum L.) • bulbous perennial herb • tall, erect flowering stem • pink or purple flowers • garlic seeds - domestic from the NorthWest region ofCroatia, Sveta Nedelja Parsley (Petroselenium crispum L.) • flowering plant • native to the central Mediterranean region • widely cultivated as a herb, a spice, and a vegetable
  6. 6. How is all of that connected? • seeds of garlic and parsley ⟶ treated in plasma ⟶ planted • hydroponics; reverse osmosis (RO) treated water
  7. 7. Results 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 numberofplantswithtwoleaves days Parsley – growth of two leaves control group treated 0 5 10 15 20 25 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 numberofgerminatedseeds days Parsley – germination (12/28/2016 - 9 min, 50 seeds, 2nd box) control group treated
  8. 8. treated with plasma control group
  9. 9. Results 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 numberofgreminatedseeds days Garlic – germination, 2/14/2017 control group treated plasma treated → not only germination delay, but rather inhibition! low-pressure plasma – 12 mbar, 0.2 L/min He flow
  10. 10. 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 2 4 6 8 averagenumberofrootsperplant days Onion root growth in time control group 3 min 6 min 9 min 12 min Results
  11. 11. Contact angle plasma affects the surface of the seed → contact angle of a water drop changes • Tracker - video analysis and modeling tool;Open Source Physics 0.8 mm
  12. 12. Contact angle PTFE – test non-treated 98 ± 5° 360 ± 42’ PTFE – test plasma treated 10 min 83 ± 5° 290’
  13. 13. a mechanism for contact angle measurements
  14. 14. Contact angle Static measurements • the angle decreases with the plasma treatment • the effect fades with time
  15. 15. Allium test • a standard test used in toxicology and envioronmental monitoring • study of chromosome damage or disturbance of cell division Onion (Allium cepa L.) • vegetable; most widely cultivated species of the genus Allium • treated in plasma → no chromosome damage was detected
  16. 16. Conclusions • atmospheric pressure plasma does not enhance growth speed of garlic or parsley; low pressure plasma has a similar effect • it seems that the plant „remembers” that the seed was treated → bigger leaves (parsley) • contact angle decreases with the plasma treatment, but that effect fades with time • Allium test - there was no obvious damage on the chromosomes • shorter treatments diminished growth speed of onion roots, longer ones enhanced it (12 min)
  17. 17. Further developments of the project • plasma activated water • other plant species • different plasma conditions
  18. 18. Literature Cold-Plasma treatment of seeds to remove surface materials (J. C.Volin, F. S. Denes, R.A.Young, S. Manolache) Effects of Atmospheric-Pressure N2, He, Air and O2, Microplasmas on Mung Bean Seed Germination and SeedlingGrowth (Re. Zhou, Ru. Zhou, X. Zhang, J. Zhuang, S.Yang, K. Bazaka, K. Ostrikov) Gas plasma treatment of plant seeds (S. A. Krapivina, A. K. Filippov,T. N. levitskaya, A. Bakhvalov) Modification of Seed Germination Performance through Cold Plasma ChemistryTechnology (J. C. Volin, F. S. Denes, R. A.Young, S. M.T. Park) Non-Thermal PlasmaTreatment of Agricultural Seeds for Stimulation of Germination, Removal of Surface Contamination and Other Benefits (L. K. Randeniya, G. J. J .B. de Groot) Water uptake mechanism and germination of Erythrina velutina seeds treated with atmospheric plasma (C. Alves Jr., J. O.Vitoriano, D. L. S. da Silva, M. L. Faras, N. B. L. Dantas) Non-Thermal PlasmaTreatment of Agricultural Seeds for Stimulation of Germination, Removal of Surface Contamination and Other Benefits (L. K. Randeniya, G. J. J .B. de Groot)
  19. 19. Thanks Luka Čabraja, colleague dr. sc. Slobodan Milošević, director of the Institute pf physics in Zagreb Berti Erjavec, prof., associate from the Institute of physics in Zagreb Dean Popović, prof., associate from the Institute of physics in Zagreb