Study on the Use of Manganese-Containing Materials as a Micro Fertilizer Based on the Local Mineral Resources and Industrial Wastes in Hydroponic Systems

Hydroponic greenhouses systems (production of the artificial substrate without soil) are becoming popular in the world. Mostly the system is used to grow vegetables and berries. Different countries are taking action to participate in the development of hydroponic technology and solutions such as EU members, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Scandinavian countries, etc. Many vegetables and berries are grown by hydroponics in Europe. As a result of our research, we have obtained material containing manganese and nitrogen. It became possible to produce this fertilizer by means of one-stage thermal processing, using industrial waste containing manganese (ores and sludges) and mineral substance (ammonium nitrate) that exist in Georgia. The received material is usable as a micro-fertilizer with economic efficiency. It became possible to turn practically water-insoluble manganese dioxide substance into the soluble condition from industrial waste in an indirect way. The ability to use the material as a fertilizer is predetermined by its chemical and phase composition, as the amount of the active component of the material in relation to manganese is 30%. At the same time, the active component elements presented non-ballast sustained action compounds. The studies implemented in Poland and in Georgia by us have shown that the manganese-containing micro-fertilizer- Mn(NO3)2 can provide the plant with nitrate nitrogen, which is a form that can be used for plants, providing the economy and simplicity of the application of fertilizers. Given the fact that the application of the manganese-containing micro-fertilizers significantly increases the productivity and improves the quality of the big number of agricultural products, it is necessary to mention that it is recommended to introduce the manganese containing fertilizers into the following cultures: sugar beet, corn, potato, vegetables, vine grape, fruit, berries, and other cultures. Also, as a result of the study, it was established that the material obtained is the predominant fertilizer for vegetable cultures in the soil. Based on the positive results of the research, we consider it expedient to conduct research in hydroponic systems, which will enable us to provide plants the required amount of manganese; we also introduce nitrogen in solution and regulate the solution of pH, which is one of the main problems in hydroponic production. The findings of our research will be used in hydroponic greenhouse farms to increase the fertility of vegetable crops and, consequently, to get bountiful and high-quality harvests, which will promote the development of hydroponic greenhouses in Georgia as well as abroad.

Radish Sprout Growth Dependency on LED Color in Plant Factory Experiment

Recent rapid progress in ICT (Information and Communication Technology) has advanced the penetration of sensor networks (SNs) and their attractive applications. Agriculture is one of the fields well able to benefit from ICT. Plant factories control several parameters related to plant growth in closed areas such as air temperature, humidity, water, culture medium concentration, and artificial lighting by using computers and AI (Artificial Intelligence) is being researched in order to obtain stable and safe production of vegetables and medicinal plants all year anywhere, and attain self-sufficiency in food. By providing isolation from the natural environment, a plant factory can achieve higher productivity and safe products. However, the biggest issue with plant factories is the return on investment. Profits are tenuous because of the large initial investments and running costs, i.e. electric power, incurred. At present, LED (Light Emitting Diode) lights are being adopted because they are more energy-efficient and encourage photosynthesis better than the fluorescent lamps used in the past. However, further cost reduction is essential. This paper introduces experiments that reveal which color of LED lighting best enhances the growth of cultured radish sprouts. Radish sprouts were cultivated in the experimental environment formed by a hydroponics kit with three cultivation shelves (28 samples per shelf) each with an artificial lighting rack. Seven LED arrays of different color (white, blue, yellow green, green, yellow, orange, and red) were compared with a fluorescent lamp as the control. Lighting duration was set to 12 hours a day. Normal water with no fertilizer was circulated. Seven days after germination, the length, weight and area of leaf of each sample were measured. Electrical power consumption for all lighting arrangements was also measured. Results and discussions: As to average sample length, no clear difference was observed in terms of color. As regards weight, orange LED was less effective and the difference was significant (p < 0.05). As to leaf area, blue, yellow and orange LEDs were significantly less effective. However, all LEDs offered higher productivity per W consumed than the fluorescent lamp. Of the LEDs, the blue LED array attained the best results in terms of length, weight and area of leaf per W consumed. Conclusion and future works: An experiment on radish sprout cultivation under 7 different color LED arrays showed no clear difference in terms of sample size. However, if electrical power consumption is considered, LEDs offered about twice the growth rate of the fluorescent lamp. Among them, blue LEDs showed the best performance. Further cost reduction e.g. low power lighting remains a big issue for actual system deployment. An automatic plant monitoring system with sensors is another study target.

Low-Cost Monitoring System for Hydroponic Urban Vertical Farms

This paper presents the development of a low-cost monitoring system for a hydroponic urban vertical farm, enabling its automation and a quantitative assessment of the farm performance. Urban farming has seen increasing interest in the last decade thanks to the development of energy efficient and affordable LED lights; however, the optimal configuration of such systems (i.e. amount of nutrients, light-on time, ambient temperature etc.) is mostly based on the farmers’ experience and empirical guidelines. Moreover, even if simple, the maintenance of such systems is labor intensive as it requires water to be topped-up periodically, mixing of the nutrients etc. To unlock the full potential of urban farming, a quantitative understanding of the role that each variable plays in the growth of the plants is needed, together with a higher degree of automation. The low-cost monitoring system proposed in this paper is a step toward filling this knowledge and technological gap, as it enables collection of sensor data related to water and air temperature, water level, humidity, pressure, light intensity, pH and electric conductivity without requiring any human intervention. More sensors and actuators can also easily be added thanks to the modular design of the proposed platform. Data can be accessed remotely via a simple web interface. The proposed platform can be used both for quantitatively optimizing the setup of the farms and for automating some of the most labor-intensive maintenance activities. Moreover, such monitoring system can also potentially be used for high-level decision making, once enough data are collected.

Ecoliteracy and Pedagogical Praxis in the Multidisciplinary University Greenhouse toward the Food Security Strengthening

One of the challenges that higher education faces is to find how to approach the sustainability in an inclusive way to the student within all the different academic areas, how to move the sustainable development from the abstract field to the operational field. This research comes from the ecoliteracy and the pedagogical praxis as tools for rebuilding the teaching processes inside of universities. The purpose is to determine and describe which are the factors involved in the process of learning particularly in the Greenhouse-School Siembra UV. In the Greenhouse-School Siembra UV, of the University of Veracruz, are cultivated vegetables, medicinal plants and small cornfields under the usage of eco-technologies such as hydroponics, Wickingbed and Hugelkultur, which main purpose is the saving of space, labor and natural resources, as well as function as agricultural production alternatives in the urban and periurban zones. The sample was formed with students from different academic areas and who are actively involved in the greenhouse, as well as institutes from the University of Veracruz and governmental and nongovernmental departments. This project comes from a pedagogic praxis approach, from filling the needs that the different professional profiles of the university students have. All this with the purpose of generate a pragmatic dialogue with the sustainability. It also comes from the necessity to understand the factors that intervene in the students’ praxis. In this manner is how the students are the fundamental unit in the sphere of sustainability. As a result, it is observed that those University of Veracruz students who are involved in the Greenhouse-school, Siembra UV, have enriched in different levels the sense of urban and periurban agriculture because of the diverse academic approaches they have and the interaction between them. It is concluded that the ecotechnologies act as fundamental tools for ecoliteracy in society, where it is strengthen the nutritional and food security from a sustainable development approach.

Cultivation of Thymus by In Vitro And Hydroponics Combined Method

Our results showed that for the growth of qualitative seedling and vegetative raw material of ðó. marschallianus Willd. and T. serphyllum L. it is more profitable to use the in vitro and hydroponics combined method. In in vitro culture it is possible to do micro-propagation whole year with 98-99% rhizogenesis. 30000 micro-plants were obtained from one explant during 9 months. Hydroponic conditions provide the necessary microclimate for microplants where the survival rate without acclimatization was 93.3%. The essential oil content in hydroponic dry herb of both species in vegetative and blossom phase was 1.3% whereas in wild plants it was 1.2%, the content of extractive substances and vitamin C also exceeded wild plants. Our biochemical and radiochemical investigations indicated that the medicinal raw materials obtained from hydroponic and wild plants of Thymus species correspond to the demands of SPh XI, and the content of artificial radionuclides does not exceed the MACL.