Can vegetable crops be grown in closed transparent air lock system?
Shrirang R. Maddalwar, Dr. Arti S. Shanware
Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rajiv Gandhi Biotechnology Centre, L.I.T premises,
Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University, Nagpur
From a long time I was thinking that what measures could be adopted to reuse the water which is lost by transpiration from leaves in crop fields. Every day many tones of water are lost through these leaves in open fields. It is estimated that about 98% of water which is absorbed by the roots of the plants is lost in the process of transpiration pull of the plants through its stomata and only 2% of water is utilized by the plant. So, if such technology is produced which will store this water and make it available for reuse then, it will be one of the greatest achievements in the sector of Sustainable Agriculture. There are many methods like use of poly houses, green houses and newly introduced Wallipini type of farming. But all of these methods are costly and cannot be implemented on very Hugh area by ordinary farmer.
So, I decided to make a prototype of airlock system for growing tomato crop in it which will be able to collect all the transpirated water on its surface and allow it condense and return to the plant. Initially there were many queries in my mind like extreme moisture in this system will allow the plant to grow or not and will the plants survive in isolated system where only sunlight is allowed to enter. But answers to all those questions were present in actual experimental results.
The actual arrangement was made in order to carry out this experiment using glass and transparent plastic. Few saplings of tomato plants were prepared in green house prior to the experiment. Nine of those plants were transferred to this system and watered efficiently. After watering the plants, the system was packed by transparent plastic. These plants were allowed to grow for next 30 days. And it was observed that the growth rate of these plants was 2-3% more as compared to plants subjected to normal conditions. Hence, it is just the beginning of new technological era which will allow farmers to grow crops in a system which needs to be watered very often. We are planning to execute this on pilot level very soon. If we get satisfactory results, we will be able to cultivate good crops in drought affected area also. It is the emerging technology at this stage. It requires lots of research and findings to implement this concept on ground level.
Feasibility of this concept also depends on many factors like high moisture tolerance of crop variety, proper nutrients in the soil, efficient sunlight and many more. Plants produce same amount of carbon dioxide at night and same amount of oxygen in day in normal conditions. But when concentration of carbon dioxide is more in the surrounding, the amount of oxygen produced by leaves is reduced. Hence, it is the biggest challenge to maintain the balance of those gases in order to assure healthy growth of plant.
It reduces the problems of pest and infection on crops to higher level. But at the time of pollination, it may create problem. But, humans have solution to every problem. So, we are very sure that some will definitely solve this minor defect in this process also. This article is our sincere effort to share our findings with you.