The aeroponics systems being used currently are the results of NASA’s research into high-tech sustainable agriculture for the future. As the agricultural land area is constantly decreasing due to various factors and considering the population growth, concerns related to water and energy resources are rising. Considering these issues, Aeroponics could prove to be an option for sustainable agriculture for the future.
The word Aeroponics is derived from the Greek meanings for aer (“air”) and (ponics) “work/labour”. Aeroponics is one of the most effective Hydroponics techniques. Aeroponics is a system of growing plants wherein the plant’s roots are suspended in air, and the nutrients required for the plant growth are delivered to the roots from a water-based nutrients solution by spray or mist. Aeroponics is carried out by spraying the nutrient solution on the plant’s roots, without the use of any growing medium. It is the process of growing plants in an air/mist environment, without the use of soil.
In Hydroponic systems, the plants grow without soil. Hydroponics is the process of growing plants in water-based nutrients solution with some type of growing medium such as Rockwool, Coco coir. On the other hand, Aeroponics a type of Hydroponics uses no such growing medium. Aeroponics is the process of growing plants in an air/mist environment without the use of soil or an aggregate media. These systems generate a mist of water droplets to feed the plant’s roots and the air or the misty environment is the growing medium for the plants. The only exception being the use of the growing medium: starter cubes used for the plants that have yet to develop roots.
In Aeroponics systems, the roots are suspended in the air, and the nutrients solution is pumped from the reservoir and sprayed onto the roots through misting devices at regular intervals. As the roots are suspended in air, it ensures that the roots get enough oxygen which aids in the absorption of nutrients and prevents rotting. In these systems, the seeds are placed in foam plugs, which are exposed to light from one end and the nutrients mist from the other end. The plants are held in place by a frame, and the root structure is supported with the help of foam plugs or small baskets. The plants then grow upwards in the growing tray, whereas the roots grow freely in the chamber below. The root chamber is similar to an enclosed container that should be dark from inside and well ventilated to provide roots with fresh air. Aeroponics technique has been existing over the years in a variety of variations. But unfortunately, as the cost and problems related to agriculture increase, this technique has been revived, especially for the smaller farms. Some of its advantages as compared to traditional farming and hydroponics have been discussed below: