Sugar-Based Vertical Farming; can plants use exogenous sugar instead of light for growth?

For thousands of years, humans have used light to fuel plant growth. Since the main barrier to sustainable Vertical Farming is its light-related electricity costs, other models should be considered. We are researchering whether light intensity in vertical farms can be reduced by feeding exogenous sugars to plants. Previous experiments have shown that plants take up sugar through their roots, but growth does not increase much. This may be due to; a) light signalling effects that balance growth and light intensity b) reduced water uptake because of closed stomata in low light c) low sugar uptake rate by the roots. During this project you will investigate one of these factors. You will grow plants on sugar in a sterile environment inside of a vertical farming setup, and measure morphological- and/or photosynthetic- parameters. The results will provide insight into fundamental plant growth processes as well as help make vertical farming more sustainable.

Interested in doing a BSc or MSc thesis at HPP? Please contact the HPP student coordinator Katharina Hanika.