Saturday, September 22, 2018

China is making its vegetables grow bigger, faster and stronger ... using electricity

China has been conducting the world’s largest experiment and the results are transforming agricultural production in the world’s most populous nation with a jolt.

Across the country, from Xinjiang’s remote Gobi Desert to the developed coastal areas facing the Pacific Ocean, vegetable greenhouse farms with a combined area of more than 3,600 hectares (8,895 acres) have been taking part in an “electro culture” programme funded by the Chinese government.

The technique has boosted vegetable output by 20 to 30 per cent. Pesticide use has decreased 70 to 100 per cent. And fertilizer consumption has dropped more than 20 per cent.

The high frequency electricity kills bacteria and virus-transmitting diseases in the air or soil. It also suppresses the surface tension of water on leaves, accelerating vaporization.

Within the plants, the transport of naturally charged particles, such as bicarbonate and calcium ions, speed up and metabolic activities, like carbon dioxide absorption and photosynthesis, also increase.

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