Dutch entrepreneur John Bijl of Vitro Plus created ViStrip, a sustainable cultivation system for the germination and propagation of seeds. The ferns of Vitro Plus do not grow in a greenhouse, but in a laboratory with multilayer cultivation in an industrial estate. Thanks to his laboratory background, John developed and perfected the concept of tissue culture, with which ferns are propagated in the lab.
Vitro Plus laboratory
The ViStrip is a strip made up of separate tubes. Within each tube develops a miniature fern. Each tube is sealed with a special foil, which keeps out undesirable fungi and bacteria, but does allow certain gases, necessary for growth, to seep in. "In this way it is possible to grow ferns in a very hygienic fashion" says innovation advisor Willy Reijniers of Syntens Innovation Centre. Intelligent LED lighting subsequently allows the ferns to develop in a matter of a few weeks.
A joint venture between Vitro Plus and machine builder Visser led to the further development and marketing of the innovative strip. After participating in a trade mission to China, the first success for this new concept has already been made. "The first million-dollar order for China is in the bag," beams Reijniers. The ferns propagated by Vitro Plus even perk up the White House in Washington now, according to the company.