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No chemicals

Introduction

This theme concerns innovation in products and systems that utilize visible and invisible wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation in the cultivation of plants.  It is an important element in biological production systems.

The most obvious innovation came with the introduction of LED LIGHTING enabling growers to tailor illumination to the needs of the plants under cultivation and to their precise needs at determinate stages of growth.  Because LED lighting emits little heat, it has also enabled the development of vertical lighting systems and vertical farming towers. Consumption of electricity is also much reduced. Innovative materials and properties of GREENHOUSE SCREENS also assist growers to control temperatures and shading in protected cultivation.

Other technologies apply UV LIGHT and MICROWAVE RADIATION to kill pests and diseases on plants, seeds, bulbs and food crops prior to storage, examples cited are: CLEANLIGHT, MISYA and ECOPALM SYSTEM. Cutting edge research has found that an electron beam can destroy DNA of pathogenic organisms on the surface of seeds without damaging the embryo and CO2 infrared laser technology is able to kill weed seedlings. These innovations offer a big challenge to the agrochemical industry and great opportunities for biological production and equipment manufacturers. Finally plants under stress emit ELECTROBIOLUMINESCENCE (bioplastic energy). When this can be accurately quantified, yet another instrument could be manufactured to maintain perfect growth parameters.

EFFECTS OF UV LIGHT

Q1. Can electromagnetic radiation improve nutritional quality of fruit, vegetables and salad crops?

Sun tanning fruit and vegetables: It is known that many metabolic processes continue in fruit and vegetables after harvest. Work at the University of Pisa, Deptartment of Agronomic Science, has discoverd that exposure of peaches and tomatoes to UVb light (wavelengths 280-315 nm) for just 2 minutes can increase the synthesis of poliphenol antoxidants in the fruit by 2-6 times. The UVb also inactivates certain enzymes responsible for the softening of fruit thereby increasing shelf-life. Since the increase in antioxidants is concentrated in the skin, health benefits in terms of disease prevention and the slowing of the ageing, implies our eating of the whole fruit. Research is being extended to see the effects of UVb on other fruits, vegetables and salad crops, also to discover whether this treatment can in part substitute the application of pesticides, fungicides and other chemicals during various stages of growth and postharvest, especially in handling and storage. Reference: Il Venerdi 11 January 2019 Science ‘Se la frutta si abbronza diventa super: fa bene e dura di più’ pp54, Autore Alex Saragoza. Ricerca x Dept of Agronomic Science, University of Pisa Dott.ssa Annamaria Ranieri

Q2. How can invisible electromagnetic radiation help to remove insect pests and diseases and reduce use of plant chemicals?

The Clean Light Crop Protection System uses low dosage UV light to suppress fungal, bacterial and viral diseases. It has been used successfully in protected horticultural crops such as roses, tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers, in field crops such as grapes and potatoes and in golf course grass against the fungal pathogen Sclerotinia homoeocarpa. It is being successfully used to remove pests and diseases on the surface of bulbs. It has also been found effective in the sterilization of trays (up to 50mJ/cm2) together with rinsing in water and hypochlorite solution. Rose farms in Kenya find that the Clean Light system reduces fungicide application by up to 65% and renders plants stronger and healthier. On a new rose farm near Kiev, Ukraine, the UV treatment system is mounted on a cart that rides along the isle of the greenhouse. By controlling its speed, plants receive an adequate dosage to kill plant diseases such as mildew and Botrytis, but not the beneficial insects used against insect pests. The treatment leaves no residues and has been approved by various regulatory agencies in Europe and US as being safe to use. In the hobby sector there is a kit available, together with protective gloves and mask for use against pests and diseases on plants, flowers, vegetables, fruit and culinary herbs. The equipment has been further developed from its introduction in 2006 and represent an important element in biological production. More information from Clean Light.  Videos www.cleanlight.nl

OTHER ER RADIATION

Bi.Elle Srl, a microwave engineering company, Modena, Italy, have developed and patented the Ecoplam Ring to kill the devastating red palm weevil, Rhynchophorus ferrugineus. Microwave radiation is trasmitted through an open circular ring that closes round the upper parts of the palm trunks. High frequency radiation penetrates the plant tissue where it is rapidly trasformed to heat that completely destroys all stages of Rynchophorus, including the pupa that are difficult to kill by chemical means due to the protective cocoon. Another advantage of the microwave system is that all other pests and diseases subject to the radiation are also destroyed, including other insects, batteria, fungi. The treatment is totally sustainable, does not damage the plants, environment or the people operating the system.  The ring is fixed to a moveable boom carried on a lorry.  Another product, the  Ecopalm Box is designed to irradiate wood and infected plant material to eliminate pests and diseases, and is also good against woodworm. Further information, or contact Luca Bernabei www.ecopalm.it

The target of the System MISYA (microwaves system for Agro-food) is to kill insects and mites in food products prior to storage, thereby reducing food waste and the application of expensive chemicals and fumigants that can also leave potentialluy toxic residues. Food passes along a conveyer inside a cyclindrical tube where the irradiation provides LT lethal temperatures of 55-60°C that kill all stages of insect pests in an effective and clean manner (0.3 – 2 tons/h) without changing the physical,  organoleptic or nutritional properties of the food. The modular equipment is easy to transport and maintain. To date the system has successfully treated legumes, cereals (including rice), pine nuts. It can also be used in the dessication of fruits. See brochure in Italian (PT) by EMitech  www.emitech.it

Research demonstrates that microwave EMR is effective in eliminating aphids. When aphids are subjected to microwaves at a particular frequency, they start to vibrate as they absorb the energy and then explode. The frequency needs to be calibrated to body size and eventually to each given species of insect pest. This radiation can also be used to interrupt communications betwen insects thereby disrupting their breeding. National Physics Laboratory, UK. See Plantwise.

Electron beams to Disinfect soil and weed seeds. Zapping seeds with invisible EMR radiation kills diseases on the surface of seeds. Seeds are home to moulds and fungi, bacteria and viruses. Seeds are normally treated chemically to kill these diseases and to prevent them from spreading. Permits for some chemical agents have been withdrawn and the granting of permits for new products has also declined. Lastly, the severe case of E-coli infection caused by contaminated bean-sprout seeds resulted in calls for alternatives. Scientists of the Fraunhofer Institute for Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP in Dresden, Germany, have developed an environmentally friendly method for killing pathogenic agents from seeds. Seeds are treated with electrons which within milliseconds destroy the DNA of the harmful organisms. Due to a special device, the elementary particles only act on the surface and in seed coat. The embryo in the interior of the seed is not affected.  Researchers are working with the company Nordkorn Saaten GmbH that has been testing a prototype. In 2012 the quantity of seed treated by this demonstration unit reached about 11,000 metric tons.  Researchers and partners are looking for further industrial support to make such units more compact and mobile. Further information (pdf) See also.

Soil disinfestation using EMR in microwave range achieved an almost 100% kill of weed seeds, sclerotia and resting stages of  nematode worms. A field microwave treatment unit used 2.45 GHz delivering about 1KW of power. 40-50 seconds with a resting period of 3 minutes worked down to a soil depth of 2.5m, 90-120 seconds to work down to 5m. This experiment (Fr272) was conducted in 2005 at the Pollution Research Unit, School of Life Sciences and School of Engineering, Napier University, Edinburgh, supported by the then HDC – Horticultural Development Council. www.horticulture.ahdb.org.uk_ER soil disinfestation  See also Ampere Newsletter. (Issue 93 August 31, 2017)

Q3. Can microwave readiation be used to eradicate unwanted weeds and weed seedling?

Research in Germany has used a CO2 laser in the infrared range with a wavelength of 10.6 µm to fight weeds at an early stage of growth.  By using a  scanner with a flexible mirror system the laser beam can be moved quickly from plant to plant and focused with high precision on plant meristems near the surface. A minimum dose of around 35 Joules is necessary to kill seedlings and this laser energy can be calibrated to the plant species and growth stage. The best results for large areas can be provided by using field robots working in a stop-and-go mode. This EMR technique could further reduce the use of chemicals againsts unwanted plants or weeds and has the advantage of being extremely accurate and selective.  Investigations on the Effect of the Laser Beam on young Plants for Weed Control using Image Processing. Laser Zentrum Hannover (LZH),  www.lzn-hamburg.de and Biosystems and Horticultural Engineering (BGT), Leibniz Universität  www.bgt-hannover.de  See photonics article. Research by the GRDC in Australia found that microwave treatment was effective in killing weeds seeds (and snails).

Q4. How important are electric fields to plant growth and development?

The rhizosphere is electrical. Plant roots create electric fields within their internal structures due to the movement of ions and water when absorbed by root hairs and conducted through the cells and tissues. At the same time other charged compounds can be released by the plant roots such as the exudates that serve as chemical messengers, food for soil microorganisms and ‘antibiotics’ (e.g. onion root exudate that suppresses the fungal pathogen Rhizoctonia). Book entitled Electrohorticulture by David Wechler  Amazon sales: Electro-horticulture by David Wechsler

Biological information is shared throughout the plant by action potentials (AP’s) and chemical messengers. Some cells are electrically sensitive. David Wechsler of Electricfertilizer writes on his blog www.electricfertilizer.com. Cell walls are made to react and respond to electric fields created by the inflow and outflow of electrically charged nutrient ions. When a sufficient charge builds up on the outside of the cell, there is a rush of ions from the outside to the inside of the cell and back out again. The net effect is the creation of a voltage spike that affects all of the surrounding cells that are sensitive to these signals. AP’s can travel to most places within a plant in a fraction of a second. Following the release of the AP’s there is also the release of the chemical build, creating a slower chain reaction amongst the surrounding cells. These electrical and chemical changes are signals that impact strongly on plant metabolism.

Electrical fields also produce secondary effects on the soil. They are capable of increasing the size of soil aggregates thereby providing greater surface area and porosity that increase a soil’s fertility. Some scientists are working on creating ‘electric fertilizers’  that can control the mobility of nutrient ions by electroosmosis. www.electricfertilizer.com

In-vitro plantlets of Phalaenopsis cultured in a film-culture system for 3 months were exposed to a magnetic field (MF) of varying intensity and time. Each culture vessel was positioned at the North or South Poles of specialized magnets. All MFs tested had a positive influence on shoot and root development. Constant exposure to a slightly higher MF of for 3 months at either Pole significantly enhanced plantlet development. The effects of permanent magnetic fields on in vitro growth of Phalaenopsis plantlets by Pham Thanh Van, Jaime A. Teixeira Da Silva, Le Huy Ham and Michio Tanaka. The Journal of Horticultural Science & Biotechnology Vol 85, nr.5, pp. 473-478

SOUNDWAVES

Q5. Can invisible EMR radiation affect seed germination?

Mitch Goldsmith, working together with the University of the Pacific (San Francisco) and Dr. Dave Koranski, a young-plant consultant (now Prof. Emeritus Iowa State University)  identified specific tones and musical modes that impact on plant growth. He has called the technology PlantVibe.

 Various frequencies affect seeds at the molecular level making them vibrate. It is claimed that these vibrations cause a number of positive effects the most noticeable being faster germination. It is like priming or scarifying seed from the inside. Treatment of seeds not only speeds up seed germination it also increases seed germination by 2-5%. Ultra-high frequencies are used well above the range of human hearing.
 PlantVibe treatment is also said to make plant growth more compact in place of plant growth regulating chemicals but this time using low frequency sound waves. The technology under development consists of a computer connceted to an array of speakers positioned throughout the greenhouse. The sound waves used are not audible so do not affect the workers. The PlantVibe invention has been filed for patents but online information is limited.  See also Journal of Electromagnetic Analysis and Applications, 2011, 3, 165-171 doi:10.4236/jemaa.2011.35027  Effects of Low-Power Microwave Fields on Seed Germination and Growth Rate.

Specific musical sequences have been found to influence metabolic processes in plants. In tomato plants for example, this technique has been used to stimulate the synthesis of a natural growth regulator and the inhibition in the production of certain enzymes needed by mosaic virus to infect plants. www.rexresearch.com/agro/1strnhm.htm Physiological changes in plant growth and development can also be provoked by different types of music; rythm, timing (notes and pauses) and pitch translate to wavelength, frequencies and energ

Q6. Can EMR also affect the structure (and quality) of irrigation water?

Hydrogen bridges in water molecules change when exposed to electromagnetic radiation. Raymond Lescrauwaet has discovered the means to exploits this in the Aqua-4D technology for use in all segments of agriculture. Irrigation water is subjected to the influence of a precise level of EMR with surprising results in terms of the resulting improved quality of water. See also the Blog. Problems such as high salinity, fertilizer levels are significantly reduced and water savings can be made. Furthermore the improved EMR water structure reduces populations of nematode worms in the soil. See also WATER MANAGEMENT theme.

Q7. Can invisible electromagnetic radiation in the general environment be dangerous to plants?

Probably yes. Research in the Netherlands suggests that Wi-Fi radiation could be responsible for the damage and death of the upper and lower epidermis of Ash trees leaving a lead-like shean. A high percentage of urban trees in the Netherlands show similar symptoms. However these results have not been confirmed in repeat experiments. www.pcb.wur.nl Other research suggests that high frequency shortwave radiation (e.g. ground radar) can damage trees. It is thought that tree leaves absorb electromagnetic radiation, inducing a flow of electrically charged particles that are able to migrate to the soil through the roots, causing a type of electrolysis. This in turn leads to soil acidification causing the stunting and death of trees. See SlowDigital.

Q8.  Can invisible EMR radiation be damaging to human health?

There is need for precaution wherever possible. In our daily lives we are increasingly surrounded by sources of low intensity radiofrequency (RFR) radiation used in wireless communications. A recent study in Japan has discovered that low intensity RFR can provoke metabolic changes leading to oxidative stress in living cells. This is an imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and defence mechanisms. Long-term exposure can lead to headaches and fatigue and could be linked to health risks such as neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. Igor Yakymenko, Olexandr Tsybulin et al. Oxidative mechanisms of biological activity of low- intensity radiofrequency radiation. Electomagnetic Biology and Medicine. Doi:103109/15368378.2015.1043557 Online 7 July 2015 .

The influence of invisible ER pollution on plants might also help us better understand its effects on animal and human life.

©2013/2019 | HORTCOM

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