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The technical path of plant factories to support the development of urban horticulture

author:Zhang, Li       Release time:2022-10-26      Source of articles:

The Innovation Team of Plant Factory from Institute of Urban Agriculture, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (IUA-CAAS), proposed a novel technical path recently. This research has been published in Horticulture Research(IF: 6.793) with the title "Plant factory technology lights up urban horticulture in the post-coronavirus world".

During and after the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), people are well aware of the importance of food security issues, including food production, food transportation, and food supply. The plant factory with artificial lightning system (PFAL) ultimately aims for stable and effective food production, which contains several novel approaches including automatic fertigation system, vertical cultivation system with soilless culture, environmental factors precision controlling system, artificial intelligence decision-based algorithm, optimized lighting database, attracting increasing attention.

In this review, we described the constitutions and characteristics of the plant factory, emphasizing its advantages for high-quality food production. In addition to its contribution to food security, plant factory also provides non-food products, plus a number of functionalities. Accordingly, plant factory also provides urban agriculture associated services include the provisioning services (e.g. food supply), social services (e.g. providing places and opportunities to understand the agricultural production process), habitat services (e.g. contributing to urban biodiversity), and cultural services (e.g. recreation, amenity or social inclusion).Therefore, PFAL shows great potential for addressing themost challenging issues in agricultural science andassociated fields, such as population growth, waterscarcity, loss of arable land, food safety, and supply chainchallenges. It will thus undoubtedly play an importantrole in the agricultural revolution, food security,carbon neutralization, and the future of humankind. In addition, innovation within PFAL will promotethe future integration of current agricultural practiceswith other rapidly developing techniques (e.g. artificialintelligence, advanced materials, synthetic biology) andhelp to achieve the global objectives of sustainableagriculture. Thus, this paper provides an effective way for plant factory innovation research and industrial expansion, and puts forward new insight for the development of urban horticulture industry during and after the epidemic.

The research was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program (No. 2020YFE0203600), the Central Public-Interest Scientific Institution Basal Research Fund (No. Y2021XK04), and the Agricultural Science and Technology Innovation Program (ASTIP-CAAS, 34-IUA-01, and 34-IUA-03).

The link of the paper:https://doi.org/10.1093/hr/uhac018

By Zhang, Li (zhangli10@caas.cn)