Jessica McKeil   |   November 20, 2017

Sonication for Agriculture

Will singing to your plants improve the final yield? According to recent research, sonic waves could play a substantial role in all aspects of the growth cycle, from germination all the way to harvest.
Jessica McKeil is a freelance writer focused on the medical marijuana industry, from production methods to medicinal applications. She personally found relief through cannabis for the treatment of her panic and anxiety disorder. She is lucky…

 

Whether that means playing Mozart over a vineyard or sending out subsonic vibrations from within a laboratory setting, the evidence is compelling. Sound waves seem to have a positive effect on overall plant health and final yield.

In Italy, a vineyard has already taken advantage of the sound of music, in particular, the sounds of Mozart. Carlo Cignozzi, the owner, and proprietor of the Mozart Vineyard has been working closely with Italian universities to study the effects of music on wine production in his vineyard.

According to his research, Mozart has encouraged his harvest to begin two weeks earlier. His yields are more regular than in previous years, and the vines are more robust. Interestingly, at least according to Cignozzi, playing music across his vineyard has also had positive effects on the fermentation process as well.

Inspired largely by real-life evidence from people like Cignozzi, the research into sonic waves for farming is booming. Around the world, research teams are exploring what sonication could do for the future of agriculture. 

 

Sonication for Seed Germination

A handful of companies in the agricultural sector, like Hielscher, have developed sonication tools to promote speedy seed germination. Hielscher, an ultrasonic expert, has developed technology using ultrasonic waves to stimulate seed germination.

Through their studies, they have discovered that by priming seeds with ultrasonic waves they can significantly increase germination time. They have also learned that ultrasonication will increase the number of germinations. The belief is that through sonication seeds can increase water and nutrient uptake, and improve their oxygen access. Priming with sonication allows seeds to take root much more quickly than the control groups.

 

Sonication for Improved Photosynthesis

Biophysics researchers studying the photosynthesis cycle of spinach leaves have published interesting results when it comes to the effect of sonication. The team of scientists was able to determine that cell vibration is essential to kick-starting the photosynthesis process. By increasing vibration, at a cellular level, these researchers believe they can boost one of the “most important biochemical processes on Earth,” photosynthesis.

While the results of their study are going focused on improvements to solar panel technology, there is still much to learn for the agricultural sector. According to the lead author of the study, Jennifer Ogilvie, cellular vibration improved communication lines throughout the spinach leaf. A perfectly timed wave allowed for the efficient transfer of information from one cell to another. She calls the effect a “bucket-brigade.”

Through improved lines of communication, one can assume a plant’s overall health will receive benefit. As with any living organism is essential to have smooth and effective lines of cellular communication. Sonication can boost cellular vibration and improve intracellular energy transfer. 

 

Sonication for Improved Harvests

B-Wave is a patented technology dedicated to improving harvests through emission of subsonic sound waves. Similar to Hielscher's ultrasonic technology, b-waves seem to stimulate healthier plant growth during the entire lifecycle.

When plants are subjected to subsonic b-waves, they have a steady increase in CO2 uptake. Through increased CO2 consumption, they also increase nutrient consumption, triggering significant improvements to the growth cycle.

Image courtesy of B-Wave Technology Inc.

Through improvements to plant health, there is measured improvement in final harvest. B-Wave has demonstrated that through use of their small subsonic wave emitting unit, plants are quicker to reach fruiting stage and consistently produce higher yields. Many of their clients report seeing unexpected results during harvest, and their own studies have demonstrated 20 percent increases in final yields.

Another potential benefit to sonication for yield, is that subsonic waves may deter pests. Especially for producers concerned about following organic growing principles, resorting to chemical pesticides is not an option. Sound waves could be considered the cleanest known pest-deterrent technology.

 

Final Thoughts on Sonication from Start to Finish

From seed germination to growth cycle, to final harvest, there is much to learn about sonication for agriculture. From tomatoes to cannabis, the overall health and vibrancy of crops seem to benefit dramatically from the use of sound waves.

Although sonication theory is in its infancy, the initial results are compelling. Scientists and farmers alike are demonstrating significant improvements throughout the lifecycle of their crops, and if Cignozzi is to be believed, even after processing, as shown during his grapes fermentation process. Clearly, the old wives tale about talking to and playing music for your houseplants has some merit. 

 

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