Vertical farming, LEDs and the flavor of leafy greens
Feb. 12, 2018
This high tech, futuristic looking environment is what the farming of the future could look like. Nevertheless, when it comes to the end customers, restaurant chefs and their patrons in this case, it is primarily about flavor and freshness. These microgreens go from the farm to the dinner plate in a matter of hours and according Mr.Apesos this is what keeps the flavors intense. The varieties include everything from the common pea-shoots to the more exotic ones like the borage crest.
The GROWx vertical farm is fully equipped with Valoya’s LED grow lights. The primary spectrum used is the AP673L which has been optimized for the vegetative stage of plant development. This means that plants grown under this light will quickly develop biomass (stems and large, thick leaves) while flowering will be delayed or completely prevented making it ideal for microgreens and leafy greens in general. In a research conducted by Wageningen University and Democritus University the AP673L spectrum boosts the development of chicoric, rosmarinic and caffeic acids and other phenolic compounds making the plants more flavorful and nutrient dense*. The other spectrum is NS1, a sunlight replica spectrum, good for the entire growth cycle. Both spectra are wide and patented with a high CRI (Color Rendering Index) value meaning that plants and other objects look natural under them i.e. their colors look as they would under natural sunlight.
* F. Bantis et al.(2016) Artificial LED lighting enhances growth characteristics and total phenolic content of Ocimum basilicum, but variably affects transplant success, Scientia Horticulturae 198 (2016) 277–283