Building Team Chemistry: The Bigger Picture Behind Cows & Climate
Animal Biology Graduate Student, UC Davis
Year Awarded 2022
Total award amount $2,112,454
Location Gainesville, FL
Matching Funders AeroFarms, BASF, Fluence by OSRAM, GreenVenus, Priva
Controlled environment agriculture adapts and grows plants for indoor environments to grow flavorful, nutritious and resource-efficient crops. This farming system is a promising opportunity to sustain and develop our food systems despite climate change. Yet, knowledge gaps are hindering this potential. Scientists have only limited knowledge of the conditions popular crops need to thrive indoors, as well as the genetic advantages that can smooth a crop’s transition to indoor farming, knowledge that will help make indoor production economically viable for growers.
The current market for crops grown indoors is small, and historically, major seed companies have been hesitant to invest in genetic enhancement or specialized technology that would allow indoor cultivation. While this is changing, the result of this legacy is a gap in indoor production research and techniques. The Precision Indoor Plants (PIP) consortium seeks to build knowledge of controlled environment agriculture by investing in research to advance indoor crops with consumer-desired traits, such as flavor.
With this PIP grant, researchers at the University of Florida are defining and enhancing the physical and genetic traits in tomatoes that affect flavor and that can make them suitable for controlled environments.
This research is expanding controlled environment agriculture to popular crops, while also making the crops grown indoors more desirable to consumers. Additionally, this research aims to capitalize on the advantages of vertical farming environments.
Consumers are generally dissatisfied with the taste of supermarket tomatoes. If we can deliver great tasting tomatoes year-round through indoor agriculture, consumers will consume more tomatoes and be happier and healthier as a result.Dr. Denise Tieman
Research Assistant Professor, University of Florida
This research targets the traits, technology and ideal growing conditions that allow premium tomatoes to thrive in controlled environments. It is aiding the development of consistently tasty tomatoes produced through economically viable indoor production systems.
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