Chatham High School science teacher Dr. Yelena Naumova and CHS senior Indira Roy, along with Dr. A.J. Both of Rutgers, have co-authored an academic paper that has been published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The paper is called "Assessment of Electricity-Free Hydroponics in India: A Proof of Concept Field Study" and was published in December in Volume 10, Issue 1 of the Journal of Agricultural Science.
Last summer, Roy conducted research while she was visiting her family in Hyderabad, India. In this area, smallholder and subsistence farmers are faced with an especially challenging environment that lacks enough fertile soil, rainfall, and space for success.
Roy believed that hydroponic farming might be a productive practice for these farmers, since it is a technique that doesn't rely on soil quality or rainfall, and it increases crop yield using less land area. However, conventional methods make hydroponics inaccessible for poor farmers because of the high cost of electricity needed to run the system.
Roy’s research focused on comparing a modified, electricity-free system to a conventional system. She found that while the conventional system produced a greater dry mass of crops, the modified system produced a greater volume of fresher-looking crops. The nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium contents in each were tested, and the costs involved in running each system were also examined.
Roy said, “Food security is a global issue that will require increased attention in the future.”
In reflecting on the process of writing for publication, Roy said, “Writing this paper required stating everything clearly and explaining the reasoning behind every idea. Peer review was a rigorous and slightly intimidating process, but having Dr. Naumova and Dr. Both as co-authors was super helpful because they are incredibly knowledgeable and supportive. I hope to continue investigating sustainable solutions for the future.”
Link to paper: http://ccsenet.org/journal/index.php/jas/article/view/71026