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Growing Spinach In A Desert

Growing Spinach In A Desert

In Saudi Arabia, some 50 miles north of Jeddah, 57 seeds sprouted into healthy, seven-inch-tall water spinach leaves by harvesting water out of thin air.

Like all conventional crops, spinach needs water to grow. But, in this case, the spinach sprouted thanks to a solar-powered system that pulled vapour from the air and condensed it into two litres of water.

Now published in the journal Cell Reports Physical Science, the results of the experiment suggest that small farms in remote, arid regions can grow their own crops without a water supply.

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Deserts may be dry, but that’s not to say there are no moisture particles in the air. The relative humidity in the region revolves around 40%, but Wang says it’s closer to 80% at night. As a result, the hydrogel material typically absorbs water vapour during the evening and at night.

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