Vertical Farming is a new model in food production with high water, fertilizer and land use efficiency compared to traditional cultivation. No pesticides are applied and since this novel system allows worldwide cultivation, it reduces food mileage promoting local production (even within urban areas!). Vertical farm is revolutionary also because of the full control of the light environment which is not possible in open field or greenhouse production. However, the high investment costs and energy use are challenges to its profitability and sustainability.
Plants have developed an internal pacemaker (circadian clock) that assures that key physiological processes (photosynthesis, stomata, sugar metabolism, etc) occur at the right time of the day and season. Little is known about lettuce growth under different diel cycles and vertical farming it the opportunity to “hack” the plant circadian clock, enhance growth, and increase light use efficiency, making vertical farms more sustainable.
The MSc thesis work will focus on the effect of light intensity, photoperiod length and diel cycle length (photoperiod + noctoperiod < 24 hrs).
Climate chamber experiments:
- Plant growth measurements
- Gas exchange
- Chlorophyll fluorescence
- Sugar analysis HPLC
- RT‐(q)PCR of clock genes
Interested in doing a BSc or MSc thesis at HPP? Please contact the HPP student coordinator Katharina Hanika.