Bioreactor for medicinal plants
Khoo, Yean Wei.
Date of Issue2009
School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Medicinal plants have had a long history of being traditionally used to provide for the health needs of people all over the world. Presently, the demand for herbal plants is expanding at such a rapid rate due to its numerous advantages in terms of its effectiveness, generally inexpensive compared to modern medicine and lack of side effects. However, due to overharvesting, its natural stocks in the wild are quickly being destroyed at an exponential rate and there are insufficient cultivation methods available to solve the problem leading to an increase in environmental issues. Although more research to improve the area are being carried out nowadays, studies on medicinal plants are still largely inadequate [1-2]. Thus, the main goal for this dissertation is to research and develop a possible methodology for supporting the cultivation of a variety of herbal plants, provide potential economic advantage to the grower and strive to be environmentally friendly. A prototype bioreactor was designed and developed to provide an optimum environmental condition for sustaining the growth and survival of an orchid, which is a type of medicinal plant. The bioreactor was built using electronic devices, various equipments and electrical appliances. The primary operation of the system is controlled by programming an appropriate source code for the microcontroller employed within the bioreactor. Furthermore, the bioreactor is a portable device, able to operate sufficiently well indoors and is both user and environmentally friendly. Following the completion of the bioreactor system, experimental testing of the device was performed by testing the system on an orchid plant. The functional and performance capabilities were assessed, verified and documented over a period of 4 weeks by observing the various physical conditions of the orchid. The final results of the experiment were analyzed and the bioreactor system was concluded have the capability to operate sufficiently well in providing an adequately favorable environment for the plant for at least the first 3 weeks. However, certain device constraints and other external factors led to a subsequent decline in performance capacity during the final week of experimentation and eventually result in deterioration of some parts of the orchid plant.
Nanyang Technological University