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Nadia Shakoor


How a St. Louis scientist is developing a zero-carbon smart farm system

March 4, 2021

With autonomous drones and solar-powered crop-monitoring stations, Nadia Shakoor’s work is just one example of St. Louis’ groundbreaking agtech scene.

When Nadia Shakoor began searching for a streamlined way to collect data on crop growth, the seed was planted for a revolutionary idea: to create a fully integrated smart farm system.

A breeding and genetics researcher at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, Shakoor and her team developed the PheNode, a solar-powered crop-monitoring station resembling a miniature antenna, complete with remote imaging and onboard diagnostics. As farmers expressed interest in how the station might help measure crop conditions and irrigation, the idea quickly expanded beyond the research lab and an even more ambitious concept took flight. Shakoor launched a startup, Agrela Ecosystems, to bring the phenotyping device to market and started searching for ways to capture field conditions beyond a single station.