Florida Industrial Hemp Pilot Bio-Remediation Project
Dr. Kate Calvin, Chemistry Instructor and Nylla Wilder, Student, South Florida State College
Fresh water lakes and waterways in Florida have been declining as the result of nutrient pollution Large amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus from fertilizer, animal feed, phosphate mine events and human waste have been identified as major contributors to this decline. These nutrients continue to exceed Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Total Maximum Daily Load threshold Industrial hemp Cannabis sativa has been shown to remove pollutants such as heavy metals and radioactive chemicals from polluted soil. This project is intended to explore and test the effectiveness of industrial hemp as a viable means of removing nitrogen and phosphorus from polluted water Cannabis sativa is a land plant and does not typically do well when its roots are in deep water that is not mechanically oxygenated. The goal of this project is to grow plants that will survive when placed in impaired water long enough to pull out some of the excess nutrients. The hypothesis is that the excess nitrogen and phosphorus in the impaired host water will provide the nutrients needed for the plants to survive We have developed a method of growing plants that condition the plants to seek water directly and the plants have demonstrated the ability to survive on the mats for 3 months We have obtained preliminary data on the nutrient levels in the water bodies, the plants, and nutrient uptake per plant in a 1 day period. Successful proof of concept warranted the start of a new phase of growth and analysis experiments.
Dr. Kate Calvin earned her PhD in Molecular Biophysics from Florida State University in 2007. She then worked as Post-Doctoral Fellow and Scientific Research Specialist in the FSU College of Medicine until 2015. Having moved to central Florida to be closer to her parents, she is now a Chemistry Instructor at South Florida State University and is very pleased to be doing research again. With a work history involving analytical biochemistry and none in plant growth and inorganic water analysis, she has ventured into new research areas and is happy to share the group’s progress to date.
Nylla Wilder is a freshman at South Florida State College majoring in biomedical science and enjoying her first research experience. She will join the Honors Program next year and looks forward to continuing in research.