Plasma agriculture: Improving the productivity of agricultural land and eliminating the reliance on chemical fungicides

Loughborough University

Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

Project Description

In order to keep pace with the world’s expanding population, global crop production needs to double by 2050. And this needs to be achieved despite the rising global temperatures and emerging erratic weather patterns caused by climate change. To meet this challenge with minimal environmental impact, it is imperative that the productivity of agricultural land is increased through strategic and technological advancements.

Pathogen-free seeds are a starting point for securing productivity of agricultural land but consistency in the seed release from dormancy is also critical. Most seeds exhibit dormancy, an adaptation trait that allows species to determine the timing of germination. Dormant seeds do not germinate even if environmental conditions are suitable and therefore inconsistencies in the release from dormancy has a negative impact on crop production. Erratic climate patterns and global warming will affect seed dormancy and means of triggering dormancy release and germination will become increasingly desirable.

This PhD will explore the use of low-temperature gas plasma technology as novel chemical-free disinfection tool and a means of triggering seed dormancy release in different species and climate scenarios.

Funding Information

This is an open call for candidates who are sponsored or who have their own funding. If you do not have funding, you may still apply, however Institutional funding is not guaranteed. Outstanding candidates (UK/EU/International) without funding will be considered for funding opportunities which may become available in the School.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 degree (or equivalent) in a relevant engineering or science discipline. An appetite and aptitude for interdisciplinary research is essential, as well as good communication. Multi-disciplinary training will be provided, and the student will join biologists, chemists and engineers working in related research. A master’s degree and/or experience in a related area associated with the research, while not essential, will be an advantage.

Application Process

All applications should be made online using this link.
Under school/department name, select ‘Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering’. Please quote reference FI-UF-2020.

The deadline for applications is 30 September 2020.

For further information on this project, please contact Dr Felipe Iza ([email protected]) or Dr Karen Coopman ([email protected]).

Supplementary Information

Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014). In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral College, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career.

Find out more using this link.

To apply for this PhD, please use the following application link: