Demand for sustainably produced food is driving current strategies for intensification of the agricultural sector worldwide. To meet these challenges farmers will need to adopt a whole-farm approach to resource efficiency. They will increase their productivity with a better application of knowledge per hectare. Optimising soil fertility will enable farmers to maximise their productivity and profitability with higher grass and crop yield and quality.
SARMENTI will deliver more accurate measurement of
soil nutrient concentration and gaseous emission to improve nutrient use,
maximise crop growth and minimise environment losses.
The consortium will develop
the next generation of reagent free sensor platform that will monitor in
real-time soil nutrient supply. This
platform will also measure local environmental conditions, especially harmful
gas production just above the ground.
With the SARMENTI system, farmers will collect in-situ digitised data to perform appropriate and timely actions regarding fertilisation leading to environmentally friendly and economically sustainable farming.
Besides soil nutrient and gaseous emission monitoring in farming, other applications include water quality monitoring for surface, ground and drinking waters.
SARMENTI addresses the following key challenges:
Improve selectivity, sensitivity, precision and fabrication cost of existing state-of-the-art sensors, while maintaining their functionality for a long period of use either in the soil or in the air. The partners bring to the project different cutting-edge electrochemical sensors (nanowire and potentiometric) sensitive to the concentration of soil nutrients in a liquid. They also bring environmental sensors, especially to measure the concentration of gases released in the bio-chemical cycle of natural manure. These sensors require advances to enable real time in situ soil nutrients analysis;
Integration of the sensors in a multi-sensor frontend module able to monitor different nutrients or environmental parameters and placed for long periods of time (ideally whole crop duration) in difficult outdoor conditions and even buried in the case of the Soil Probe;
Packaging to increase the lifetime of the sensors, to efficiently sample the soil moisture or the surrounding air and decrease the system power consumption;
Guarantee the integrity of electronic components and data against attempts to bring down or take advantage of the system in an unauthorized manner, by the development of a secure IoT node and its integration with secure connectivity.
The development of the SARMENTI system requires the integration of inter-disciplinary knowledge from a manifold of enabling principles including nanoelectronics, electrochemistry, micro-electro-mechanics, bio-systems technologies, chemistry, data analytics, communication technologies, embedded software and edge computing, cyber-security for the IoT.
The envisioned architecture for the SARMENTI node consists of three devices:
the Soil Probe buried in the soil. It will contain electrochemical sensors in a hygroscopic membrane to monitor soil nutrient concentration. It will also contain pH, moisture and temperature sensors;
the Air Probe monitors the gases in the environment surrounding the Soil Probe and other environmental conditions (e.g. temperature, humidity, UV). It will be located just above the ground;
the Smart Data Logger collects data from both probes and transmits them directly to the cloud.
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.