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Carbogation--Combining Drip Irrigation with CO2 for Superior Yields

Carbogation(TM), according to AG Gas(TM), is a system that "uses recycled industrial CO2 gas transmitted through existing micro-drip irrigation infrastructure for plant enrichment to enhance yields, fortify crops and reduce input costs." The company asserts studies have shown that "crops exhibit far greater water-use-efficiency when exposed to CO2 enrichment, and are less susceptible to the yield-reducing effects of ozone and other air pollutants." AG Gas reports that the average yield increase for woody plants is 51 percent, using a 300 ppm infusion of CO2 ; for sunflowers it is a 48.8 percent increase.

Carbogation research is being tested by irrigation researchers at Fresno State's Center for Irrigation Technology. Research scientists Florence Cassel Sharmasarkar and Dave Goorahoo are leading a study of field application of carbon dioxide to strawberry plants. The research team previously studied the system with a tomato crop. Cassel reported tomato weight increases of 65 percent, a total fruit number increase of 25 percent, and a total marketable harvest weight increase of 120 percent, more than double the conventional yield. Cassel believes the research has global applications.

One problem is that CO2 is expensive to obtain (CO2 makes up only .03 percent of the earth's atmosphere) and to transport, plus you need a place to store it and equipment to apply it. CO2 is a by-product of human exhalation. Plants use the sun's energy to produce sugar from water and CO2.

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December 8, 2019, 7:53 am PDT

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