Topical Review - Plasma Physics
Plasma-assisted agriculture: history, presence, and prospects—a review
Department of Pulse Plasma Systems, Institute of Plasma Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Za Slovankou 1782/3, 18200, Prague, Czech Republic
Accepted: 15 June 2021
Published online: 20 July 2021
The growing demand for food represents an enormous problem for agri-food industries. It is driven by global population growth on the one hand and constrained by greenhouse gas reduction targets on the other. Accordingly, the implementation of new energy-efficient, low-carbon, and biodiversity-preserving technologies has become an absolute priority. In this work, the basic processes and requirements for the successful implementation of low-temperature atmospheric-pressure plasmas generated in air are considered in the various steps of the agricultural food production chain. This paper briefly reviews the history of plasma science in agriculture as well as discusses the pros and cons of low-pressure plasma versus atmospheric-pressure plasma. Particular attention is focused on plasmas generated using low-cost gases, such as synthetic or ambient air. The influence of various plasma components is discussed. These include electromagnetic fields (specifically ultraviolet–visible near-infrared radiation) and reactive oxygen and nitrogen species in the typical pre-harvest and post-harvest processing in the agri-food value chain. Finally, state-of-the-art cold air plasma generation and its potential deployment at the laboratory scale and under real farming conditions for industrial-scale production are examined.
© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to EDP Sciences, SIF and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2021