Ben-Gurion University researchers develop new realtime soil nitrate sensor

January 14, 2020

BEER-SHEVA, Israel - January 14, 2020 - Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers have developed a new nitrate sensor that will provide real-time and continuous measurement in soil to better detect water pollution and measure conditions for higher agricultural productivity.

Natural nitrate levels in groundwater are generally very low. However, excess application of fertilizers in agriculture often results in leaching of nitrate from the soil to water resources. Increased levels of nitrate in water is one of the main reasons for disqualification of drinking water, causing a worldwide environmental problem.

The new optical nitrate sensor is based on absorption spectroscopy. It enables continuous, real-time measurement of nitrate and can detect nitrate concentrations in the range of tens to hundreds of parts per million (ppm), which is the range relevant to growing crops. Its ability to continuously monitor soil nitrate levels produces a highly detailed portrayal of the rapidly changing concentrations of nitrate in the soil solution. The new sensor is also highly resistant to harsh chemical and physical soil conditions.

The invention was developed by Prof. Ofer Dahan of the BGU Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research, Prof. Shlomi Arnon of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Elad Yeshno, Ph.D. student at the Zuckerberg Institute.

"Current methods for measuring soil nitrate are cumbersome, labor-intensive and do not provide real-time indication on the actual concentration of nutrients in the soil," says Prof. Dahan.

"Our invention, which enables real-time monitoring of soil nitrate levels, can supply farmers with valuable data on the amount of nutrient availability for crops," Prof. Arnon says. "It also optimizes fertilizer application, thus preventing over-fertilization, economizes irrigation and reduces water resources pollution."

According to Shirley Sheffer Hoffman, senior vice president of business development for water, energy and agriculture at BGN Technologies, BGU's technology-transfer company, "This is another example of the cutting-edge multidisciplinary research preformed at the BGU Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, in collaboration with BGU's engineering faculty. This promising project received funding from the Israel Innovation Authority, and now BGN Technologies is seeking an industry partner for its further development and commercialization."
-end-
About BGN Technologies

BGN Technologies is the technology-transfer company of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. The company brings technological innovations from the lab to the market and fosters research collaborations and entrepreneurship among researchers and students. To date, BGN Technologies has established over 100 startup companies in the fields of biotech, high-tech, and cleantech as well as initiating leading technology hubs, incubators and accelerators. Over the past decade, it has focused on creating long-term partnerships with multinational corporations such as Deutsche Telekom, Dell-EMC, IBM, PayPal, and Bayer, securing value and growth for Ben-Gurion University as well as for the Negev region. For more information, visit the BGN Technologies website.

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) plays a vital role in sustaining David Ben-Gurion's vision: creating a world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the University's expertise locally and around the globe. As Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) turns 50 this year, AABGU imagines a future that goes beyond the walls of academia. It is a future where BGU invents a new world and inspires a vision for a stronger Israel and its next generation of leaders. Together with supporters, AABGU will help the University foster excellence in teaching, research and outreach to the communities of the Negev for the next 50 years and beyond. Visit vision.aabgu.org to learn more. AABGU, headquartered in Manhattan, has nine regional offices throughout the United States. For more information visit http://www.aabgu.org.

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Related Agriculture Articles from Brightsurf:

Post-pandemic brave new world of agriculture
Recent events have shown how vulnerable the meat processing industry is to COVID-19.

Agriculture - a climate villain? Maybe not!
The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) claims that agriculture is one of the main sources of greenhouse gases, and is thus by many observers considered as a climate villain.

Digital agriculture paves the road to agricultural sustainability
In a study published in Nature Sustainability, researchers outline how to develop a more sustainable land management system through data collection and stakeholder buy-in.

Comparisons of organic and conventional agriculture need to be better, say researchers
The environmental effects of agriculture and food are hotly debated.

EU agriculture not viable for the future
The current reform proposals of the EU Commission on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) are unlikely to improve environmental protection, say researchers led by the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) and the University of Göttingen in the journal Science.

Global agriculture: Impending threats to biodiversity
A new study compares the effects of expansion vs. intensification of cropland use on global agricultural markets and biodiversity, and finds that the expansion strategy poses a particularly serious threat to biodiversity in the tropics.

A new vision for genomics in animal agriculture
Iowa State University animal scientists helped to form a blueprint to guide the next decade of animal genomics research.

New pathways for sustainable agriculture
Diversity beats monotony: a colourful patchwork of small, differently used plots can bring advantages to agriculture and nature.

The future of agriculture is computerized
Researchers at the MIT Media Lab Open Agriculture Initiative have used computer algorithms to determine the optimal growing conditions to improve basil plants' taste by maximizing the concentration of flavorful molecules known as volatile compounds.

When yesterday's agriculture feeds today's water pollution
Water quality is threatened by a long history of fertilizer use on land, Canadian scientists find.

Read More: Agriculture News and Agriculture Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.