Skip to main content

Cellulose Nanocrystals for Starter Plugs

Tech ID:
Principal Investigator:
Gang Chen
Licensing Manager:
  • Pending

Plant starter plugs are popularly used in urban farming, especially for aeroponics, hydroponics, and aquaponics. They are small, compact mass of solid growing media for seed germination and their sponge-like consistency protects the delicate root structures of young plants to ensure safe transplanting into soil or soil-less growth media. Plant starter plugs provide a starter charge of nutrients to stimulate fast and healthy root growth and moisture control is crucial for their success. Water needs to be added appropriately so that the seed will germinate. Cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) have the capacity to extract moisture from the atmosphere. If CNCs are used as components of plant starter plugs, moisture can be maintained with vapor water extracted from the atmosphere to meet the seed germination needs without watering the plugs. The use of CNCs for plant starter plugs depends largely on the source, composition, crystal and pore structure, and the preparation or fabrication method. CNCs can be designed for specific needs and moisture stability to meet the specific requirements.


  • Fast and healthy root growth
  • Useable in remote areas