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Philips GrowWise reveals research results on light-enabled city farming

Spicier mustard, more fragrant basil, fresher lettuce grown without daylight

Philips Lighting has shared results from over 50 research projects carried out at its GrowWise Center during its first year of operation. This facility at the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven, the Netherlands aims to develop the blueprint for the vertical farm of the future and is the largest research facility of its kind with a total growing surface of 234 square meters. The research findings confirm that growth recipes can be successfully used to influence virtually any characteristic of crops, from taste, texture, smell and color to yields, growth speed, blossoming and much more.

“Within one year of operations at Philips GrowWise, we have already developed many specific growth recipes for international retailers and city farm entrepreneurs,” says Udo van Slooten, Manager of Philips Horticulture LED Solutions. “Through our collaborations with plant breeders and professionals in the vertical farming market, we are becoming known as an expert in the entire growth process of plants and in developing indoor cultivation facilities with knowledge reaching beyond lighting.”

Research results help to re-engineer plants and improve standard crops
To expand the varieties of crops that can be grown in a vertical farm, trials have been done on broccoli, bimi, spring onions, radishes, strawberries and many others. In the strawberry trial, for example, GrowWise was able to raise the sugar level from a Brix value of 6-8 to 9.5, making it much sweeter and tastier. Early results from growing broccoli and bimi also show that these vegetables are suitable for growing in environments without daylight.

Other qualitative research trials resulted in low-nitrate lettuce which could have potential health benefits. GrowWise has successfully cultivated vibrant red Lolla Rossa lettuce, a popular variety with consumers that is difficult to color under artificial light. Other trials managed to grow more fragrant smelling basil to enhance taste and other plant qualities.

For standard indoor crops, such as salad greens and herbs, researchers are using growth recipes to improve specific characteristics, such as yield, texture or quality. One trial doubled the yield of Salanova frill lettuce compared to high-end greenhouses. Another trial extended the shelf life and crunchiness of salad greens, while another test produced spicier mustard leaves which might appeal to Asian consumers.

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Philips Lighting
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