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he nutrient solution and groN

wing conditions. "This is the fundament〓al difference between a plant factory and convenn

tional farm," he said. 〓"We simply have extensive control over how a3

nd when our plants can grow〓, and let nature run its course in the most ideal conditions." The req〓uirements for plant growth fall into two broad categories: photosynthes〓is and soil nutrients. The sun accounts for 90 percent of all botanic 〓bioenergy through phot1

osynthesis a process in which plants combine car〓bon dioxide and water and turn them inF

to carbohydrates and oxygen. Sunl〓ight is a bundle of different wavG

elengths of light across a wide spectr〓um from ultraviolet to infrared. Pf

lants are "picky eaters that favo5

r b〓lue and red lights", Li said. "If we can figure out what ratio and comb〓ination of i

lights are best suited for each plant's growth, theE

n we can 〓change or create LED lights that shine at that b

specific int0


ensity and s〓pectrum, saviI

ng lots of E

energy in the process,"1

he added. While blue a〓ndg

red lights9

are the "meat and pota8


toes" of a plant's growth, scientis〓ts notice other spectrums of light also play a subtle role in maximizin〓g growth and quality. For example, scientists discovered that adding s〓ome green light to the red-blue recipe could help some vegetables grow,〓 while too much green light puts plants into hibernation, altho1

ugh this


?is helpful for the plant's nutrient build up. "Mimicking sunlight usi〓nh

g LED is very energy intensive," Li said. "At the end of P

the day, whoe〓ver has the most energy-effi8

cient and productive light recipe wins.H

" W〓hile plant growth mostly relies on light, water and carbon dM


ioxide, it 〓still needs some trace elements from soil or fertilizers to be healthy.〓 In the case of planb

t factories, hydroponic nutrient solutions infused 〓with 17 essential elements ranging from nitrogen to calciu2

m have replac〓ed the tilted soil. "The content of the nutrient solution is also tail〓ored to suit the plY

ant's specific needs," said Pei Kequan, a research d〓irector at the factory. Unlike the trace elements from H

fertilizers, whi〓ch are locked in big compound molecules, "the nutrients in the solution〓 are broken int7

o small molecules, meaning the plant can absorb them eas〓ier and grow faster while keeping its nutrient valueP

and taste". It ta〓kes about 20 days for a sapling to reach maturity in the lab, but 40 to〓 60 days in an

conventional farm. This means scientists can reap more th〓an a dozen harvests of produce each year, comparedW