AgTech BioTech Hydroponics Vertical Farming

How can vertical farms use less energy and produce better and faster?

In Chicago, Back of the Yards Algae Sciences (BYAS), a sustainable biotechnology  company has been working on a simple but elegant solution – …grow faster, grow better, and grow smarter by letting nature help itself.

Vertical farming (VF) is a potential solution for the production of high-quality, accessible, and climate-friendly nutrition for growing urban populations. However, to realize VF’s potential as a sustainable food source, innovative technologies are required to ensure that VF can be industrialized on a massive scale and extended beyond leafy greens and fruits into the production of food staples or row crops. A major obstacle to the economic and environmental sustainability of VF is the lighting energy consumed. While technological advances have improved the energy efficiency of VF lighting systems, there has been insufficient research into biostimulation as an approach to reduce energy needs.

Back of the Yards Algae Sciences (BYAS) conducted a controlled trial to investigate the application of a phycocyanin-rich Spirulina extract (PRSE) as a biostimulant in hydroponically grown, vertically farmed lettuce (Lactuca sativa and Salanova®). PRSE application reduced the time from seeding to harvest by 6 days, increased yield by 12.5%, and improved quality including color, taste, texture, antioxidant flavonoid levels and shelf life. Metagenomic analysis of the microbial community of the nutrient solution indicated that PRSE increased the overall bacterial diversity including raising the abundance of Actinobacteria and Firmicutes and reducing the abundance of potentially pathogenic bacteria. This preliminary study demonstrates that microalgae-derived biostimulants may play an important role in improving the economic and environmental sustainability of VF. 

Breakthrough research by BYAS reveals that a proprietary extract from blue-green microalgae, plays an important role in plant growth and shortens the crop cultivation cycle, nutritional quality, and yield. Controlled trials evaluated the biostimulation effect of the BYAS A601 in a  hydroponic vertical farming trial.

This research is available at:

algaesciences - AgTech and FoodTech
Lettuce red green

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