Researchers at BGN Technologies at Ben-Gurion University in Beer-Sheva have developed new technology that allows farmers to get direct and continuous measurement of nitrate levels in the soil, writes the Jerusalem Post.
The new method optimizes crop fertilization and helps prevent groundwater poisoning. The natural nitrate level in groundwater is generally low, but too much fertilizer can result in leaching of nitrates from the soil and making the water undrinkable.
The technology was developed by Prof. Ofer Dahan of The Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research (ZIWR), Prof. Shlomi Arnon from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Technology and PhD student, Elad Yeshno from ZIWR.
The technology is resistant to harsh chemical and physical soil conditions and enables continuous real-time measurement of nitrate levels in the soil.
-The current methods for measuring nitrate in the soil are cumbersome, labor-intensive and do not provide real-time indication of the actual concentration of nutrients in the soil, says Dahan.
-Our invention can provide farmers with valuable data on the amount of nutrients available to the crops. Our solution enables optimization of fertilizer and thus prevents eutrophication, water consumption and water pollution is reduced, says Arnon