In this post we’re briefly going to showcase one of our community members’ work as part of a high-school science project.

Below are the results from an experiment by Albert Navarro, a high-school student from Barcelona, Spain. The 2 bins on the left contain radish seeds that were electrified with 9V DC using a bench power supply.

Connected to the power source are electrodes placed 15 cm apart.  As you can see, various metals were used as electrodes ranging from steel bolts to a card-cover from a computer case, to aluminum foil.  For a test such as this one, the materials used probably don’t matter; yet, if the plants were actually going to be grown for food value, then care must be made in the choice of electrode material, because depending upon a number of factors, you may end up ingesting a good amount of the electrode itself via electrochemical corrosion.

Radish electroculture results using DC electric fields in soil

Albert’s Radish Electroculture Experiment

As you can see, the plants are not only 40% larger in height and leaf area, but also more healthy by way of their deep green color.

 

Control Group Seedlings

Electrified Group Seedlings

If you’re interested in more details of this experiment, contact me and I’ll send you the various reports he produced.

  • D Louque

    My son is interested in recreating this experiment for his science fair project. Can you please provide any information you might have so we can correctly duplicate the results? Thanks in advance.

  • electricfertilizer

    My pleasure… It’s really quite simple… I would get the same bins that he has used as shown in the picture, and a 9 volt DC wall-wart. He used a bench-top power supply, and if you have one, that’s great, but it’s overkill. For electrodes, he used aluminum spare computer parts, but I would suggest that you use some sort of large iron or steel nail or plate – it will be safer as aluminum is toxic.

    Send me a note when you get started and feel free to ask any more questions!

  • D Louque

    Thanks very much. We picked up most of the supplies yesterday evening. We’re using clear pots, copper rods, a bench style 9V system and a pretty decent grow light system. The big question we’re struggling with is how much time should we apply the electricity? Some things I’ve ready suggest only a few minutes a day. Others have left it running non-stop. Any thoughts?

    • electricfertilizer

      Sounds like you have everything you need to get started then. The question you pose is one of the big questions that doesn’t yet have an answer yet… It really depends…

      It turns out that many plants respond differently to stimulation… what works well for one type of plant, may not work for another.

      With respect to coming up with a protocol that will work, I suggest trying at least 2 sub-experiments… the guy who did the original experiment left the power on 24/7, but I suspect that you may get even better results if you stimulate for a smaller amount of time, perhaps on a more regular basis, e.g. once every few hours.

      As for only running it a few minutes each day, I’ve seen that approach used for the treatment of some bacterial or viral infections, but not in any cases where overall crop improvement was desired.

      Let me know what you decide to try out.

      • D Louque

        We have elected to run the grow lights 12 hours per day and run the 9V power the same amount of time (12 hours/day). So far we’re 6 days into the experiment. Interestingly enough it appears that the control pots are doing much better. Thus far they are sprouting more quickly/more thoroughly and growing taller. Will keep you up to date on the process. We’re documenting everything.

        • electricfertilizer

          How big are your pots? Are they the same size as the ones in the picture (above)? That would be my only concern with using 9V.

          Otherwise, congrats on getting things going – I look forward to seeing how well they do!

          • D Louque

            Experiment is done. Pots were similar in size, perhaps a little smaller. 12 hours per day with both light and electricity (9V). Interestingly we definitely had results only the results were the exact opposite of what we were expecting. Non-electrified plants sprouted more robustly, grew taller, and looked stronger. But, at least we got results even if they weren’t what we expected.

          • electricfertilizer

            Interesting… this is the strange thing about electroculture – that sometimes the results aren’t repeatable, or IMHO, we don’t know enough about it.

            One thing that I learned is that some plants respond better when stimulated as a seed, and others respond well when already somewhat mature. Did you add the electricity in from the very beginning, or only after they started to sprout?

          • D Louque

            We did electricity from day one. Would be interested to repeat with different variables. I think if we were to do it again, we’d likely scale back the amount of time we had electricity on to about an hour or two per day. Starting electric after sprouting would also be interesting. One would’t necessarily use traditional fertilizer until after sprouting.

        • Keith

          It may be possible that for your soil type (salts and moisture) that 9v could have carried too much current density, watts/m^2. The soil chemistry is bound to effect currents and, and soil currents is bound to effect soil microbes, and even plants. Too much of anything can kill. Next time around you might try 1.5V from battery or 3.3V and or 5V from a computer power supply. You may not know how much potassium, sodium, and magnesium or other salts are in your soil, and your soils moisture may vary greatly with ambient humidity and sun exposure, so it might help to include those lower volts with the soils you expect to use.

          • Actually, I ran an experiment on Tomatoes in my garden, hooking up electrodes to a pair of D-Cell batteries at 3V total. I barely had time to check the results when we got hit by a huge rainstorm, that presumably caused the plants to be killed by an extreme overdose of current. Next time I do a simple experiment like that I’ll be sure to add some sort of current limiting resistor to protect against the soil resistivity going to zero. So, 3V can kill a plant also, and probably 1.5V also… under very high current output.

  • Cman

    Hey I am also interested in replicating this experiment (but not exactly) could you supply me with any information that might help me?

    • Sorry for the late reply… I think most of it was listed there, or, if you joined the mailing list, we gave a quick intro to setting up a basic experiment yourself. Did you end up trying to figure it out?

  • Noor

    Hi David. I am finding your website quite useful for the electroculture experiment I want to perform. I am writing a research paper on the effect of electricity on plants that are potted vs. plants that are in the ground. I plan to apply the experiment on at least four different vegetables (radish, tomato, lettuce and one other). There will be basically two groups of plants. One group will be potted and the other on the ground. and then these will further be divided into the controlled ones and the electrified ones. I have a few questions.. if you can help me with those. 1. Should use seeds or seedlings? 2.DC or AC supply of current? 3. What should be the set voltage? 4.What should be the time for exposing the plant to electricity? 5.How many seeds/seedlings should be in one pot? I would appreciate your help and your prompt reply. Thanks

    • ahmad luqman

      i would to ask for the same question as @disqus_pthF79jhiN:disqus … and the other one, i would like to know in detail how to set up the apparatus

      • Hi Ahmad, Here you go… thanks for your interest in electroculture! The answers as I see it at this time…
        1 – Both.. I have seen improvements in seeds only compared to transplanted seedlings; so you want to do both
        2 – DC works best, but AC sometimes works too, but to a much narrower range of plants, with more limited results.
        3 – It’s very experimental at this point, so it’s open… I’d say you’d want to range it between 1 and 12 Volts
        4 – That is also open, I’ve seen everything ranging from 24/7 to 12 hour to a few hours to a few minutes.
        5 – I typically test 4 – 5 seeds per pot, unless its for something like a grass in which case I’ll do more.

        Let me know what you decide to try out. Sorry I can’t be more helpful… it’s very experimental right now, we’re trying to understand what works best.

        What are planning on applying it to?

        • ahmad luqman

          i have seen some other experiment about electric fertilizer.. and yours are a bit different.. i can see that there is a compass there (photo above), what role does it play… is it the positive charge must be on the north pole while the negative charge in the south pole?? and is there and metal plate that attached to both metal in this case the bolt and aluminium foil?? or you have any videos in youtube how to set up the apparatus??

        • ahmad luqman

          i have seen some other experiment about electric fertilizer.. and yours are a bit different.. i can see that there is a compass there (photo above), what role does it play… is it the positive charge must be on the north pole while the negative charge in the south pole?? and is there and metal plate that attached to both metal in this case the bolt and aluminium foil?? or you have any videos in youtube how to set up the apparatus??

  • Katrina Watson

    How long did you leave the current on for? Or was it constant? If it was constant how long did this experiment run?

    Thanks,
    Katrina

    • From my understanding the current was constantly on. It was running for 33 days. Are you thinking about giving it a try?

  • DIYGirl

    hi I was wondering how do I create the circuit if I’m going to be using a dc 9v battery? Also how do I attach it to the plant?!

    • Sorry for the late reply… in the simplest case, with a 9V battery connector, run each wire (red/black) into some nails and place them into the soil on either side of a plant. If you want, you can also attach it to a plant /tree and see how well that works for you. Presumably, plants perform better with the positive side in the stem and the negative into the soil.

  • Keith

    https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/186537-biologists-discover-electric-bacteria-that-eat-pure-electrons-rather-than-sugar-redefining-the-tenacity-of-life In all seriousness though electrons are not eaten or consumed rather as they travel from high potential to low potential, work can be extracted. In this case life functions = work. It is interesting that they point out that they found 10 very different types of bacteria that can “eat electrons”. It seems to indicate that the capacity to use nothing but electrons for energy has either co-evolved many times, or that it once originated before the different species of bacteria separated down their evolutionary path, and that the capacity could be latent in the genomes of many more organisms.