Using cockroach, hair to boost plant growth: Unique ideas at Science Congress in Kerala

The school students experimented using cockroaches as manure and human hair in place of pesticides to help the growth of plants and found interesting results.
Using cockroach, hair to boost plant growth: Unique ideas at Science Congress in Kerala
Using cockroach, hair to boost plant growth: Unique ideas at Science Congress in Kerala
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If their theories and experimentations work on the ground, there could be cockroaches used for manure and human hair in place of pesticides! Students from Kuwait taking part in the National Science Congress held in Thiruvananthapuram have brought some unique ideas with them.

Shreya Varsha Arun, a class 11 student in Kuwait, has found in her experiments that cockroaches have a large quantity of protein content as well as anti-bacterial property, both of which will help in the growth of plants. “I got the idea from my principal, Mr Premkumar. Then, with the help of my guides Mr Senthilvelan and Ms Priyalekshmi, my partner Marushka and I developed the project to convert cockroaches, mostly seen as a big nuisance in houses, into manure. This was tested at my home in Kuwait,” Shreya says.

The powder made out of the cockroaches was found to contain three times more protein than cow dung and vermicompost. “We also found there are metals present in cockroach powder that could help in the growth of plants. When we tested the plants to which the powder was added, they had more chlorophyll content than other plants. The number of branches and the rootlings were more in number. And because cockroach powder has anti-bacterial properties, it could inhibit the propagation of harmful bacteria,” Shreya adds.

It is Vishnu Balram, a class X student from Kuwait, who found that human hair could be used as a bio stimulant. “Hair causes a lot of pollution in the atmosphere; when the barbers dump it in the open or burn it leading to toxic gases being released. But then it could be used as a bio stimulant to facilitate the growth of plants. We found that the plants where hair was used as bio stimulant took lesser time to grow than when pesticides were used. Hair has 17% more nitrogen than pesticides. This was extracted and used for the plants. My partner Aadil Mohammed and I got the help of our guides Ms Leena Praveen and Ms Deepasree,” Vishnu says.

Ishaan KB of class VIII also wanted to improve the life of the farmer. “When we visited my grandfather’s house in Coimbatore, we saw the problems faced by the farmers. They told us about the labour problems. That’s how my partner Ananth and I, with the help of our guides Mr Sarath and Mr Lijo, developed the agricultural ‘cobot’. A cobot is a collaborative robot which can plough, sow and irrigate in a linear way,” Ishaan says.

The fourth delegate from Kuwait is also a class VIII student, Abia Maria Sunu, who used food waste as a sugar source in a microbial fuel cell that converts chemical energy to electrical energy. “This is in light of the rising demand for electricity, and mounting food waste. My partner Aleena and I used vegetable and fruit waste to generate electricity with the help of our guide Jaseela madam. In the anode chamber, we used the food waste in place of glucose. Fifty grams of food waste produced 0.785 volts of electricity, while glucose would have given 0.8 volts. It is more or less the same.”

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