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COVER STORY

Technology Fuels F Meeting the increasing demands of food production to feed an ever-growing world population, with fewer natural resources available to do so, necessitates advances in innovative technologies. Peter Livingston, head of Cal Poly’s BioResource and Agricultural Engineering Department, is working alongside his peers throughout the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, to produce food in unchartered ways – like growing produce in highly salinated water. One secret, he says, rests in the millions of tiny bubbles, invisible to the naked eye, that can be injected into water. Livingston and bioresource engineering lecturer Sara Kuwahara are keenly study8

SUMMER 2017

ing the use of these ultra-fine bubbles, infused with oxygen, as a shield to protect a plant’s roots from the salt ions in saltwater.

college’s second annual Summer Undergraduate Research Program. First, they will study strawberries.

In theory, if they succeed, certain crops like lettuce could be grown in parts of the world such as the Arabian Gulf where water scarcity prevents sustainable food production.

“Strawberries are incredibly sensitive to salt,” said Livingston. “If we can make it happen with strawberries, then we can make it happen with many other crops.”

Livingston and Kuwahara will expand their research this summer with a team of undergraduate students during the

Small successes have kept both Livingston and Kuwahara excited about this research. In tests this spring, they were able to keep lettuce plants alive in water that

Cultivate Summer 2017  

The quarterly newsletter of the Cal Poly College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, a globally recognized center of excellence...

Cultivate Summer 2017  

The quarterly newsletter of the Cal Poly College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, a globally recognized center of excellence...