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Team:Lambert GA

AGROSENSE

FOOD INSECURITY

23.5 MILLION Americans face food insecurity or have limited access to affordable and fresh produce. These people are limited to either highly processed junk food or fast foods which have been linked to chronic illnesses such as obesity, diabetes, and heart attacks. Food insecurity is highly prevalent in our hometown of Atlanta, with one in every four Atlantans living in neighborhoods classified as food deserts. Hydroponics is a pragmatic solution to address food insecurity, but maintenance and costs are barriers to implementation.

HYDROPONICS

THE FUTURE OF FARMING

Hydroponics is a form of agriculture that substitutes soil with aqueous nutrient solutions. The hydroponics industry has increased by 22.52% annually since 2019 and is projected to grow at a similar pace over the next five years. This growth reflects the many benefits of hydroponics including maximized space, conserved water, faster crop growth, increased nutritional value, and growth in unfavorable climates. Hydroponics can address food insecurity by producing nutrient-dense and high-yield crops in a compact form.

PROBLEM

Contemporary small-scale hydroponics systems experience a greater degree of nutrient fluctuation as compared to industrial systems, and nutrient monitoring methods are costly and time-consuming, with results often being imprecise. Nutrient fluctuations result in declining plant health as plants are more susceptible to pathogens, resulting in smaller yields. Additionally, when nutrient levels in the water supply fluctuate outside the optimal range, farmers are forced to discard the water and restart the system. All of these barriers hinder potential consumers from utilizing hydroponic systems.

NUTRIENT
FLUCTUATIONS

DISEASE AND
PATHOGENS

OUR SOLUTION


WETLAB

NITRATE

Building upon Lambert’s 2020 Nar part, we created a cell-free system to ensure that our sensors are safe to distribute in the agricultural market.

PHOSPHATE

We characterized our 2020 Pho biosensor for concentrations common to hydroponic systems in order to improve sensitivity and provide a cost-effective method of phosphate monitoring.

PLANT PATHOGEN BIOSENSORS

In order to address other pervasive issues found in hydroponics, we created two toehold biosensors to detect Fusarium oxysporum and Phytophthora cryptogea, two common plant pathogens in both hydroponics and soil-based farming.

MODELING

We created an Ordinary Differential Equation nitrate model that simulates GFP expression in response to various concentrations of nitrate. We also created an Ordinary Differential Equation plant pathogen biosensor model to predict the concentration of GFP produced in response to pathogenic presence.

HARDWARE

LYOPHILIZER

We developed a cost-effective lyophilizer to freeze-dry our nitrate and phosphate biosensors to significantly lower biohazard concerns surrounding bioengineered products and increase their shelf-life.

SOFTWARE

PLATE READER

To complement our biosensors, we developed a cost-effective plate reader to quantify fluorescence concentrations expressed from our biosensors to precisely monitor nutrient and pathogen levels.

UN SDG'S

Agriculture is essential to the preservation of life and is vital that modern farming techniques are able to accommodate growing populations while maintaining both the economy and the environment. AgroSENSE centers around the pursuit of sustainability through all aspects of our project.