We're very proud to have been awarded a significant UK grant with our partners, Vertical Futures and NIAB (the UK's National Institute for Agricultural Botany)!
It's an exciting project - the goal is to eliminate all pathogens going into a vertical farm. Today, the biggest source are the seeds themselves - everything else can be sterilised, but these fast-growing seeds can't have chemicals - and would ideally be organic. That's where we come in... here's the project description, contact us, Vertical Futures or NIAB for more details on what we're all delivering:
Conventional and organic agriculture are highly dependent on various agro-chemicals to ensure that field grown crops are free from disease and satisfy production volume needs. CEA has moved growing crops for consumption away from fields and the disease pressures that come from the open air and soils. This has massively reduced the need for agro-chemicals but there is still some way to go. It is also still uneconomical to produce seeds in CEA facilities and so these are produced outside. The result is that the outer shell of the seed is now the main source of diseases that enter CEA production.
The focus of the project is to scale up and further develop Zayndu Ltd's non-chemical seed pre-treatment method that uses only air and electricity to kill any fungi or bacteria on the surface of the seed without harming the embryonic plant contained within it. The project will also involve DNA sequencing techniques to allow us to pinpoint molecular signposts in the genetic code of CEA suitable varieties.