Publications list:

Assessment of spectrally selective coatingsforplastic green-houses

Open Access Journal: MDPI Agriengineeering
Fraunhofer ISE
Spectrally selective coatings were designed to have specific PAR transmittances (namely 40 % and 70 %) and block or limit non-PAR solar radiation. The coatings also have low infra-red emissivity. This means that at night and in winter months, objects (including plants) underneath the coating beneficially lose less heat via radiation. The designed coatings consisted of spectrally functional PVD coatings and protective lacquers. They were commercially manufactured on PET substrates and used in a first-time trial as greenhouse cladding. Three trial tunnel greenhouses (uncoated PET, 70 % PAR and 40 % PAR transmittance coatings) were constructed in Ankara, Turkey and crops of lettuce, tomato and peppers were planted. PAR, temperature, and humidity in the greenhouses were logged and the crop growth analysed. The daytime air temperatures of the coated greenhouses were consistently lower than the reference uncoated greenhouse. The seasonal crop yield is presented as influenced by the greenhouse coating depending on the planting season.

Agrivoltaics, the innovative convergence of photovoltaic (PV)

Open Access Journal: MDPI Energies
Fraunhofer ISE
Agrivoltaics, the innovative convergence of photovoltaic (PV) energy generation and agricultural activities, has garnered increasing scholarly and practical interest due to its potential to protect crops and promote sustainable energy production. PV greenhouses, in particular, have been instrumental in this context, offering a controlled environment for crop cultivation while simultaneously harnessing solar energy. However, the intricacies of PV system design have a pivotal role to play, as suboptimal configurations may inadvertently impede crop photosynthesis by reducing available sunlight. Our study looks closely at PV greenhouse design. We use computer simulations to explore various designs, like solar panel arrangements, greenhouse shapes, and orientations. Our findings support the use of checkerboard solar panel layouts and a north-south orientation for better light quality and quantity in the greenhouse.To validate the practical applicability of our research, we undertook the implementation of the designed PV greenhouse within the framework of the SusMedHouse project, located in Ankara, Turkey. This empirical endeavor encompassed a full agricultural cycle during the period of 2022-2023, thereby affording a tangible validation of our research findings.
In conclusion, the precision of design parameters emerges as a central element in the successful deployment of agrivoltaic systems, facilitating a harmonious interplay between enhanced agricultural productivity and sustainable energy generation. The SusMedHouse project in Ankara serves as an exemplar of research translation into pragmatic agricultural practices, demonstrating the potential for broader adoption of these innovative configurations.

Biosensors or how the doctor will be able to detect the tumor on the first visit

Castellon Al Dia
A simple technology similar to that of blood glucose will allow the family doctor to extract a blood sample “and in one minute analyze the tumor marker of a hormone”. Society in recent centuries has developed different tools to measure physical and chemical parameters such as weight, electric current, voltage, shape, acidity or basicity , etc. But to quantify molecules, microorganisms, cells or molecular markers, it was necessary to overcome the second half of the 20th century and develop more complex analytical procedures, which required specialized technicians, time and higher costs. ” The discovery of biosensor technology in the 1970s and 1980s made a further step possible : directly quantifying molecules, microorganisms or cells specifically, without the need to use complex analytical strategies,” explain the experts in the subject. These devices made it possible to obtain the results of the analyzes easily, in a short time and with less expense.

High technology against the effect of climate change on Mediterranean agriculture

A Moncofa laboratory participates in the European project SusMedHouse with tools and systems that allow sustainable greenhouse production in the Mediterranean region. The Turkish city of Antalya has hosted the first face-to-face meeting of the institutions and companies participating in the R&D&I project SusMedHouse (Sustainability Competitiveness of Mediterranean Greenhouse and Intensive Horticulture) co-financed by the European Union. Seven partners from six countries, including the company Wola de Moncofa on behalf of Spain , are working on this project that promotes the European circular economy strategy, as it aims to innovate systems for the sustainability and competitiveness of the Mediterranean greenhouse. “SusMedHouse aims to achieve sustainable solutions and scientific and technological advances that promote possible future developments in the field of horticulture in the Mediterranean,” explains Wola CEO, Teófilo Díez-Caballero.

Composting plant-based waste

Composting plant-based waste not only enhances organic matter content but also supplies essential nutrients, playing a crucial role in nutrient recycling within ecosystems. In the realm of soilless agriculture, cocopeat is a prominent cultivation material. However, given its elevated cost, there’s a growing interest in exploring compost as an alternative. The study, which this article is based on, delves into the impact of compost, derived specifically from tomato plant waste, on the cultivation of tomatoes, lettuce, and peppers. The waste considered in this study primarily consists of leaf and stem residues from SUSMEDHOUSE greenhouse, where soilless cultivation is undertaken. The experiments were done with seven different growing media combinations, specified by volume: a) Compost, cocopeat, and zeolite (1:1:1) b) Sieved compost and zeolite (2:1) c) Unsieved compost and zeolite (2:1) d) Compost, zeolite, and agromix (1:1:1) e) Unsieved compost, cocopeat, and zeolite (1:1:1) f) 50% zeolite sediment g) 50% sieved zeolite.”

Leveraging the capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI

Leveraging the capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI), this study seeks to advance agricultural practices by systematically analyzing the interconnections between environmental variables, plant growth indicators, and pest occurrences. Distinct findings and methodologies encompass:
Methodological Approaches: Deployed an array of machine learning algorithms, namely Random Forest, XGBoost, Recurrent Neural Networks (RNN), and Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM), to scrutinize variables such as pesticide efficiency, presence of biological predators, and environmental factors including temperature, humidity, pH, EC, and PAR.
Inter-Variable Correlations: Unearthed pivotal relationships, notably the pronounced link between ambient temperature and pest prevalence. Further, nuances of plant growth determinants, including illumination (outdoor lux), soil pH, and ambient moisture, were examined in relation to external influences, with a marked emphasis on the pronounced role of bees during specific growth phases (Plant Growth Rates I, II, III).
Data Enhancement Techniques: To augment the analytical accuracy, mutual information was utilized to prioritize salient features, while log(x+1) transformations rectified skewed datasets, bolstering the robustness of statistical interpretations.
Advanced Imaging Protocols: The amalgamation of hyperspectral and infrared imaging, in tandem with CNNs trained on an expansive dataset of over 3,000 images, paved the way for precocious, non-intrusive pest detection. The adoption of tiling techniques further refined image segmentation, especially for pests spanning diverse sizes.
Modeling Outcomes: Remarkable precision was achieved in prognosticating pest outbreaks and plant growth trajectories. The endeavor was channeled towards curtailing the Mean Absolute Error (MAE) for ensemble models, and diminishing epoch-wise training losses for neural architectures.
Comparative Model Analysis: The versatility of Random Forest and XGBoost was manifest in their adept handling of mixed data types and capturing intricate, non-linear interdependencies. In contrast, the depth of neural models, especially RNNs & LSTMs, was underscored by their prowess in elucidating sophisticated relationships, albeit at the cost of augmented data and computational requisites.
Visual Analytics: Insightful graphical renditions elucidated the potency of pesticides vis-à-vis pest counts, and the sway of sowing cycles on pest and pathogen mitigation. Comparative analyses showcased the congruence between empirical findings and model-based predictions.
Keywords: advance agricultural practices, machine learning, Random Forest, XGBoost, Recurrent Neural Networks (RNN), and Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM), mutual information, convitatianal neural networks (CNNs), Visual Analytics”

COMPOSTER optimized biodegradation, simulating an industrial-like composting

Heliyon journal
This study monitored the process and investigated the quality of compost obtained from different biomasses. Five blends of agri-food waste were composted by a laboratory pilot plant named COMPOSTER, that is designed to optimize biodegradation, and produce compost efficiently. The COMPOSTER consists of two 35-liter nearly adiabatic, aerated bioreactors that simulate an industrial process involving the typical sequence of mesophilic-thermophilic-mesophilic phases. It continuously monitors and records temperature, internal pressure, and biomass weight, while controlling and quantifying oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide emissions resulting from aerobic biodegradation. All composts were characterized for their main chemical, physical, and molecular features, as well as their suppressiveness against Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. lycopersici (FOL), tested on tomato seedlings. Optimized biodegradation yielded 50-60% mature compost with a cumulative oxygen consumption ranging from 282 to 456 gO2 per kg of dry matter, with peaks of 2.55 gO2 per kg of volatile solids per hour, and carbon dioxide emissions of 22-36% of the initial carbon content, with peaks of 5.89 g CO2 per kg of volatile solids per hour. Blends containing more ligno-cellulosic ingredients showed higher yields and lower CO2 emissions. Most of the nitrogen present initially was retained in the final compost; indeed, all mixtures exhibited an apparent nitrogen concentration increase due to carbon loss. Composting determined deep modifications in the molecular structure of the organic matter. 13C CPMAS-NMR and off-line thermochemolysis GC-MS analyses highlighted decomposition degree of polysaccharides and peptidic moieties, selective preservation of aliphatic and aromatic recalcitrant compounds, and optimal ongoing humification. All composts were non-phytotoxic, except for that including pepper crop residues, and all resulted rich in macro- and micro-elements for plant nutrition and proved to be active in controlling FOL disease. Compost comprising 81.2% tomato crop waste exhibited the best growth performance and pathogen control on tomato. Mature, non-phytotoxic, nutrient-rich, and suppressive composts represent promising by-products that can be successfully recycled in agriculture, including high-value applications, leading to lower use of fertilizers and pesticides.
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