Phlox is the team of three Georgian students, who aim to turn deserts and places with low humidity into the lands that are suitable for agricultural use. Lizi Turashvili, Mariam Mikadze and Avtandil Gujabidze are the pupils of Cervantes Gymnasium AIA-GESS and they are among the finalists of this year contest of the Millennium Innovations. One of the members of the team, Lizi, tells “Doctrina” about the innovative project that brought the team success.
-Lizi, what does your joint project involve?
At the early stage of the project, we aimed to make our possible contribution to solve one of the most topical problems for humanity – to provide enough food for population. Especially in the regions, where there are no favorable conditions for development of agriculture. For example, which are facing the difficulties of fighting against weeds or due to the lack of irrigation water or especially high temperatures that characteristics of deserts. To solve these problems, we created an agricultural mosaic additive colour filter membrane for selective photosynthesis and the box of humidity. The first project aims to prevent weeds and give the cultural varieties opportunity to develop freely. The goal of the second project is to create suitable conditions for plants in the countries with low humidity.
– You worked on researches, tell us about your findings
We have observed the plants planted in containers and eventually got some part of the light spectrum where cultural herbs were able to be developed better than the weeds. While working on the project we detected an interesting fact : it is natural that we needed some soil for the experiments to plant the herbs. In order to avoid the weeds or other contaminated factors in the soil, we heated it in the oven at 120-125 ℃ to clean it. In the next few days we noticed that an unknown plant grew in the soil. This means that the seed of this plant was able to survive 120 ° C which is very surprising. We have planted this plant in another container and we are looking forward to a new plant in order to clear its “identity”.
-What does Phlox mean?
We choose “Phlox” as the name for our team. Phlox is one of the most resistant and attractive flowers and like the polyethylene membrane, developed by us, it is of red and violet colour.
-Why are you interested in this sphere?
Problems and possible development in agro technologies are one of the most important issues for the 21st century. After we look into the experiments conducted on the Moon and Mars, we became interested in this field and we set the goal to make even minimal contribution to solving one of the most important problems for humanity.
What do you think, will the relevant bodies show interest in your researches? And is there any company, which has already showed this interest?
-Nobody has contacted us related to this issue so far, but it seems that our project has caused a great interest in society, so we hope that many companies will show their interests for this issue and our project.
As far as I know, you have reached a final stage of the contest. Tell us about the format of the contest, what is the next stage?
-The U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation has approved $140 million second compact for Georgia to promote economic growth and reduction of poverty. This project is funded from this amount. We are at the final stage. A meeting with jury is scheduled for March 27, where we will submit the complete projects together with relevant materials.
Participants of such competitions always surprise us with new challenges, what are your future goals?
Of course, in the future we will participate in various innovative projects, meanwhile, we intend to develop the project and to go abroad with new ideas.