Hydroponic Farming is the Future! In comparison to traditional soil-grown crop production, hydroponic farming uses less space and less water. But this type of farming still requires a growth medium.
Now Scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore used keratin from discarded human hair to create the growth medium. Researchers tested the keratin-based substrates on crops similar to microgreens and leafy vegetables.
For this study, researchers extracted keratin from human hair. After that, they mixed the keratin solution with cellulose fibers to strengthen it. On drying, the mixture formed a spongy material. That spongy material was then used as a hydroponic growth medium for growing plants.
Keratin is not only in hair but is also present in animal wool and bird feathers
Lead scientist, Prof. Ng Kee Woei., said, “Besides hair, livestock farming produces large amounts of keratin as biowastes, as it is found abundantly in wool, horns, hooves, and feathers,”
“Since keratin can be extracted from many types of farm wastes, developing keratin-based hydroponic substrates could be an important strategy for recycling farm wastes as part of sustainable agriculture,”