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Plants And Their Ecosystem In The Context Of Plasma Agriculture

by Edward Buckler
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Plasma agriculture details the role of nonthermal plasma in the development of plants from seeds to crops. Several publications reported enhanced plant growth, improved stress tolerance, and antimicrobial effects of plasma treatment and plasma-treated water.

In this review, we present an overview of the recent plasma agriculture literature and put it in the context of the plant needs and the effects on the plant ecosystem.

We will discuss key developmental stages of plants and their needs, the different growth environments from hydroponics to soilless and soil substrates, and the plant microbiome.

This review provides the context to design plasma-based fertilization strategies to address the needs of plants and their ecosystem.

Greener N2fixation methods have the potential to reshape current agricultural practices by changing the production, storage, transport, and usage of N fertilizers, possibly reducing costs and environmental impact, particularly in areas where the infrastructure for such practices is not fully developed.


The use of NTP for controlled delivery of plasma-generated RONS to the soil, soilless, and hydroponic systems creates new avenues of research, fertilization, and irrigation.

The ability to tailor these species to plant needs at different plant development stages, especially ROS-based pricing of plants against abiotic stresses where the ectopic application is expensive, can promote plant health and growth while minimizing stress.

However, to efficiently use NTP for plant growth, the microbiome and soil health also need to be considered. Potential NTP application can enable optimal management of plant–microbial associations to enhance nutrition provision, plant hormone metabolism, and resilience to abiotic and biotic stresses.

Furthermore, NTP can manage unwanted organisms and pH in all three plant systems in addition to fertilization, potentially replacing currently used sterilization systems and reducing costs.


Albeit, there are still challenges for both the plasma community alone and in collaboration with plant scientists for successful implementation.


The multitude of plasma devices, resulting PTW chemistries, and application to plants make it extremely difficult to compare studies even between the same plant type.


As plasma–liquid interaction research progresses, N2bfixation promises to become more efficient, and practical scale-up strategies will be increasingly possible.

Standardizing our reporting metrics, proper control usage with exogenously added N, and growing methods that reflect standard practices in plant science literature should be taken into account for future plasma agri-culture experiments.

Source: Ranieri, P., Sponsel, N., Kizer, J., Rojas‐Pierce, M., Hernández, R., Gatiboni, L., … & Stapelmann, K. (2021). Plasma agriculture: Review from the perspective of the plant and its ecosystem. Plasma Processes and Polymers, 18(1), 2000162.

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