Discipline: Biological Sciences
Subcategory: Biochemistry (not Cell and Molecular Biology and Genetics)
Room: Exhibit Hall A
William Burks, IV - Talladega College
Co-Author(s): Michael Curry, Ph.D., Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL
Under the current methods used to deliver micronutrients to the plant or soil, increased runoffs have left a significant amount of our crops untreated. Said nutrients are immobile once delivered; therefore, if delivered on the leaf the nutrient is confined to that location. This entrapment alongside a lack of various nutrients (i.e, Cu, Zn, or Mg) highlights the need for a more efficient and sustainable method of delivery that focuses on protecting the micronutrients during this delivery to the site of action. Amongst the search for optimal vehicles for delivery, a bio-based, sustainable, and biodegradable material arose. Cellulose being insoluble in most solvents alongside the aforementioned qualities made it the definitive forerunner for the delivery of macronutrients and metals needed to benefit plant growth. Cellulose is a polymer located in all plants biomass and remains one of the most underexploited polymers, being produced with thousands of tons of waste per year. Cellulose is a complex carbohydrate made up of several thousand glucose molecules linked end to end, and due to its intra- and intermolecular hydrogen bonding various ordered crystalline arrangements are observed.
Nanotechnology is a growing field offering routes for the development of materials exhibiting nanoscale dimensions that demonstrate a wide range of applications and are characterized by unique chemical and physical properties. This wide range of applications can extend to the field of agriculture and food science. There has been an increased popularity in the use of bio-based materials to cultivate optimal plant growth via delivery of nutrients and growth-promoting compounds to plants. However, the usage of these materials adequately in terms of disposition, time of delivery, delivery site, and of the appropriate composition hinder the efficacy of fertilizers. To address this our project will utilize cellulose based beads with a highly porous surface. These pores will be impregnated with nano-nutrients and these nutrients will be released over time in both soil and other growth systems. One system that we will explore is Hydroponics.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): NSF Funding : DMR REU-1659506
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Michael Curry, email@example.com
Role: The objective of the research was to study and test cellulose based beads as a nutrient delivery system in hydroponic systems. The goal of the research is to see plant growth once the cellulose beads are introduced to the system and to measure that plant growth in relation to the beads/nutrients. I formed the Cellulose beads, freeze dryed the beads, tested Cellulose beads (FTIR & SEM), impregnated cellulose beads with Cu Nanoparticles, UV-vis analysis, set up hydroponics and measured growth.