TAMPA, Fla. — The way farmers grow their crops could soon be changing thanks to a teenager living right here in Tampa.
Shloke Patel, a soon-to-be senior at Hillsborough High School, recently came in second place at the International Science and Engineering Fair.
“My goal has always been to find an organic goal to major problems,” said 16-year-old Patel. “I often tested essential oils in my backyard and found that the plants actually grew better when I was spraying essential oils on them.”
Patel went on to create his very own microbial formulation.
“First of its kind, basically helps the plants grow while killing off the fungus on plants such as potatoes, tomatoes and bell peppers,” said Patel.
Patel’s discovery made quite the impact on the judges.
“The University of Arizona was so impressed that they actually offered me a scholarship to attend the university and that was super cool,” said Patel.
Patel hopes one day that the organic fungicide will help alleviate food insecurity on a global scale.
“It will actually increase the supply because farmers will have to spend less money and they can in turn grow more crops,” said Patel.
However, Patel really knew he had something special when his grandmother started incorporating his vegetables into her secret family recipe.
He's also very passionate about spreading his love of science to others, he even started a Science Buddies Club at school. He is also in the process of using his prize money to install free science libraries at local parks in an effort to promote scientific literacy.