Personalize your food! - Local and sustainable production of kale with increased nutritional value

Project Details

Description

Novel biotechnological strategies are needed to produce healthy and nutritious plant-based food for the urbanizing world population. Local indoor gardening solutions for cultivation of vegetables and herbs have the potential to match the continuously increasing demand for a healthy diet and offer a cost-efficient and sustainable solution for plant production. Table gardens offer flexible, but controlled light and nutrient conditions, which can be tailored to each plant species for optimized biomass, nutritional value, and taste all year round. Recent advances in lightning technologies have revolutionized the development of indoor horticulture. However, full exploitation of the technological solutions is currently limited by poor knowledge of the complex biological processes behind light-induced adjustments and trade-offs in plant metabolism and growth. Our research will fill this knowledge gap by addressing the following scientific questions: 1) How does light quality affect biomass and health-promoting phytochemicals in cruciferous plant species; 2) what are the key genes responsible for resource allocation between plant growth and metabolism; 3) can cross-species network analysis be applied to predict light-induced effects and metabolic tradeoffs; and 4) to what extent can different light conditions be applied to optimize the nutritional quality of cruciferous crops? The ultimate aim of the project is to develop means for non-invasive biotechnological manipulation of foliar chemical composition and growth in leafy vegetables. The proposed project is therefore relevant to basic plant science, agricultural applications and food biotechnology. The expected findings will inspire new strategies to identify sustainable solutions for future production of nutrient-rich, fresh and tasty plant-based food in domestic and industrial-scale settings.

Layman's description

The increasing interest towards a healthy lifestyle and a plant-based diet has posed the need for indoor gardening of vegetables and herbs in the cities. The availability of cost-efficient LED lamps has revolutionized indoor horticulture, and application of different colors of light provides the means for manipulating the growth, nutritional quality and taste of greens. This project seeks to improve indoor gardening technologies by elucidating the molecular players behind light-dependent production of biomass and health-promoting compounds in edible plants. The goal is to provide solutions for user-friendly growth of greens by introducing light recipes, which enable tailoring of the size, shape and chemical composition of leafy vegetables. On the longer run, the anticipated outcome can be scaled to industrial vertical farming systems to improve the prospects for local and sustainable consumption of plant-based food.
StatusNot started
Effective start/end date01/07/202130/06/2024