IPB University Lecturer Creates Zeoponic Growing Media Innovation

The success of horticulture cultivation is influenced by the quality of growing media. Some of the weaknesses of the existing growth media are they have low cation exchange capacity (CEC) so the application of fertilizers causes an increase in electrical conductivity. This disrupts the absorption of nutrients by plants. In ordinary planting media, the addition of fertilizer will trigger an increase in electrical conductivity which can interfere with plant growth.

This motivated several IPB University lecturers to develop Zeoponic growing media. Those IPB University lecturers are Dr. Suwardi, Dr. Dyah Tjahyandari Suryaningtyas, and Putri Oktariani, SP, MAgr. This innovation received funding through the Kedai Reka program from the Directorate General of Higher Education, Research, and Technology (Kemendikbud Ristek) which is a media for collaboration between universities and industry.

Dr. Suwardi explained, Zeoponics are growing media made from zeolite mixed with several other ingredients such as compost, cocopeat, macro, and micro fertilizers in a balanced amount. Zeolite is a hydrated hollow aluminosilicate mineral containing potassium (K), sodium (Na), calcium (Ca), and magnesium (Mg) cations.

Zeolite deposits can be found in many places such as Lampung, Bogor, Sukabumi, Tasikmalaya, and Malang. The IPB University lecturer explained that Zeoponics has advantages compared to previously existing planting media. Dr. Suwardi said that the combination of zeolite, cocopeat, and compost are complementary.

Zeolite has the characteristics of high cation exchange capacity, compost as a source of organic matter, nutrients, and microbes. Meanwhile, cocopeat reduces the specific gravity, enlarges the pores, and increases the water-holding capacity of the growing media.

"Zeoponics have a high cation exchange capacity and can maintain low electrical conductivity although they are given additional fertilizer so that nutrients can be optimally absorbed by plants," said Dr. Suwardi.

He continued, the low specific gravity makes the growing media have a lot of pore space and does not turn dense easily. This is very beneficial for the process of air exchange, nutrient absorption, and plant root growth.

Testing the effectiveness of planting media was carried out in the greenhouse of the Department of Soil Science and Land Resources, Faculty of Agriculture, IPB University. Tests were carried out on tomato, eggplant, and chili plants. Plants using Zeoponics showed better growth starting from plant height, had more leaves, and weighed heavier than plants using other growing media.

Currently, Dr. Suwardi and his team are collaborating with CV Transindo Citra Utama to commercialize Zeoponic growing media so that the benefits can be felt by the community.

Meanwhile, Dr. Dyah said that the patent rights for the Zeoponic formula and brand had also been registered. Zeoponics are packaged in plastic packaging and are priced at Rp. 14 thousand per five liters. Product marketing is conducted online through social media and marketplaces as well as offline through resellers.

“Our future plans for Zeoponic product development are specific formulations for each type of plant. Because each type of plant has different characteristics, it requires different planting media and nutrients,” said Dr. Suwardi optimistically. (*) (IAAS/SNI)

Published Date : 28-Mar-2022

Resource Person : Dr Suwardi, Dr Dyah Tjahyandari Suryaningtyas, Putri Oktariani, SP, MAgr

Keyword : IPB Innovation, Kedai Reka, Agriculture, Growing Media, Zeoponic