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Power Plant

Monday, March 31, 2008 14:55

Originally published on BLDGBLOG, written by Geoff Manaugh, reblogged by Cluster
powerplant

Passing electricity through soil, and into the roots of plants, might stimulate the accelerated production of certain chemicals, New Scientist reports.

“The roots of garden pea plants were exposed to low-level electric current and subsequently produced 13 times more pisatin, an antifungal chemical, than plants that were not exposed to electricity,” we read. The specific experiment on which this claim is based involved applying “a 30 to 100 milliamp current to the growth-medium of plants grown hydroponically, or, in the case of barrel medic, to the solution surrounding the cell cultures.”

So is this the future of gardening? Growing hydroponic plants in an electrically charged, semi-liquid matrix in order to “stimulate” the production of new forms and compounds? You could perhaps plant star anise in vast, swampy test plots surrounded by High Voltage signs, and thus derive new anti-flu drugs from electrically active roots. Or generate new orchids, supersymmetrical and glowing, plugged directly into an electrical earth. The Philadelphia Flower Show will never be the same.
Or plug gardens like this into a solar power plant out in the desert somewhere – and a weird new form of exponential photosynthesis is born.

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