The growth of a Daikon radish plant in hemp-based biocomposite as the development medium from day 8 to 14 (This is a reference to the main image above).
Hemp, thanks to its wide range of uses, has grown in popularity in the United States and across the world over the last half-decade. Because of this increased output, there have been spikes in a desirable byproduct: hemp fiber.
Biocomposites that may be used for growing plants in water
Hemp fibers can be combined with other ingredients to create multifunctional hemp based biocomposites that may be used for growing plants in water. A form of soil-free horticulture that considerably reduces land, water, and pesticide use is hydroponics.
Hemp-based biocomposites might lack the mechanical strength required to support healthy plant development. Furthermore, modern chemical processing methods used to enhance the structural integrity of those biocomposites typically generate harmful volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.
Lignin as an adhesive binding agent for metal parts
In the fall of 2019, a team of scientists from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln began working on what they’re calling “super hemp.” In their research, conducted in collaboration with researchers at Montana State University and North Carolina State University, scientists took advantage of modern analytical tools to develop a better understanding of how hemp based biocomposites might be developed. The project’s goal is to produce superior materials that can sustain high temperatures and improve energy efficiency. Researchers there are developing ways to use lignin, which is found in all plants, including cannabis (hemp), as an adhesive binding agent for metal parts—a process known as adhesion strengthening. Using traditional techniques like this has resulted in pollutants like volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
The new biocomposite is more durable than a standard hemp-based variant when subjected to compressive stresses, according to mechanical testing. It can also contain almost twice as much water as pure hemp fiber, putting its capacity very close to commercial peat moss.
The biocomposite was used to produce Daikon radishes and green peas
The hemp based biocomposite was then used to produce both Daikon radishes and green peas, a promising indication of the material’s potential as a viable, environmentally friendly growth medium.
The researchers believe that by combining the chemical technique with other lignin-containing fibers—including flax, jute, and coconut husk—they may develop a variety of sustainable biocomposites for use in growth media, bioplastics, and packaging materials.
The future of food production may rely on a wider range of hydroponic growth media. As the world population continues to grow, water supplies become more limited, and soil erosion becomes more common, conventional agriculture will become increasingly difficult.
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