Italy leads the way in microcosm cultivation

Thu 17/05/2018 by Richard Wilkinson

Italy’s national agency for technological innovation (ENEA) has devised a way to set up a hi-tech micro-plot in your house. This represents the first microcosm for indoor and extreme-environment cultivation of root and aerial plants (fruit-bearing trees, lettuce, basil, tomatoes, potatoes). Replicating the growth patterns and the same production of beneficial properties and biomass that occurs in nature, the system makes it possible to grow plants in environments that would usually be unsuitable for plant growth such as airports and extreme environments such as the Poles and desert areas, or even in space!

Developed in collaboration with private entrepreneur Gruppo FOS, the system differs from greenhouses and traditional growth chambers in terms of its architecture and network of sensors for monitoring environmental control, plant growth and reproduction. It features double independent chambers – one a subterranean chamber for growing the root system and rhizosphere, and the other an above-ground chamber for growing the plants’ aerial parts and phyllosphere. The patented product could enable research labs to develop prototypes for studying plant physiology, pathology and parasites and promote plant cultivation in unconventional environments.

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