Growing enough food to feed the world’s population comes with an environmental price tag. Traditional farming practices can use too much water, cause deforestation, soil erosion, pesticide overuse and so on. So the major question arises: how to feed people in a sustainable manner? The answer is soilless cultivation.

  Soilless cultivation generally refers to a method of growing plants without soil as a rooting medium. The natural prerequisites of agriculture, namely arable land and water, have been depleted with rapid urbanization across the globe. Under such circumstances, to feed the increasing population, not only does the productivity of food crops need to be increased on the existing arable land, but alternative farming techniques need to also be encouraged.

  By 1842, a list of nine elements believed to be essential for plant growth had been compiled, and the discoveries of German botanists Julius von Sachs and Wilhelm Knop, in the....

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