Science - February 12, 2019

288 heads of lettuce for food bank

Text:
Albert Sikkema

Together with his colleagues, WUR PhD candidate Luuk Graamans has been growing lettuce in climate cells to determine whether lettuce can thrive in high temperatures and LED light. The experiment ended on 8 February. The 288 heads of lettuce that were left were harvested by Graamans and four of his colleagues and donated to the Food Bank Neder-Veluwe.

© Guy Ackermans

The food bank was very happy with the donation, as shortages of fresh fruit and vegetables are very frequent.

Michele Butturini from the Greenhouse Horticulture group grew the lettuce in climate cells at the Plant Sciences group. The cells accommodate three vertical layers of lettuce, each illuminated by LED lamps.

In practice, lettuce is generally grown at temperatures of 9 to 12 degrees Celsius. The research team wants to know how lettuce thrives at various light intensities and temperatures between 20 and 32 degrees. This could save on energy costs (cooling) in these closed spaces.

Graamans has also been investigating the influence of air and root temperature on the crops to optimise cooling. The research team wants to recalibrate the current growing models for use in vertical agriculture.

Production climate
Graamans is an engineer from Delft who researches food production in closed systems in the city. ‘Production of vegetables in vertical farms currently costs much more energy than in greenhouses, because we don’t use sunlight. But the advantages are numerous: the production climate can be controlled better, residual streams can be reused, and fresh vegetables can be grown close to the consumers in the city.’

The study is not yet concluded, which means the food bank will receive more lettuce in the months to come.

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Reactions 2

  • Volkstuintje

    Uitslag onderzoek; Ja, sla groeit ook bij temperaturen tussen de 20 en 32 graden. Wij hebben gewoon sla in onze tuin -met verschillende temperaturen en licht-intensiteit- en het groeit als koo... eh sla.

    • Luuk Graamans

      Beste Volkstuintje,
      bedankt voor je interesse en reactie op dit artikel! Geef me de gelegenheid om het bovenstaande stuk verder toe te lichten: het doel van deze experimenten is niet om te achterhalen OF sla groeit bij verhoogde temperaturen, maar HOE sla groeit.
      Er zijn veel factoren (vers gewicht, drogestof accumulatie en verdeling, nutriëntensamenstelling, wortel/blad-verdeling, bladoppervlak, enz.) die elk op een andere manier worden beïnvloed door verschillen in het productieklimaat. Het uiteindelijk doel is om deze gegevens te gebruiken om te bepalen hoe met zo min mogelijk energie zo veel mogelijk voedsel (in dit geval sla) kan worden geproduceerd.
      Hopelijk heeft dit het doel en de toegevoegde waarde van het onderzoek verhelderd.


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