s str〓icter than hospitalQ



operating rooms," said Zheng Yanhai, a botany resea〓rcher at the institute who works at the plant factory. "Because all the〓 plants are growing in nutrient-filled hydroponic solutions, we do not 〓want germs to get into the liquid and make plants sick." Thanks to the〓 clean environment, plants can grow without antiseptics or pesticides, 〓"you can even eat it fresh out of the bag", Zheng added. In addition t〓o sanitation, scientists also take temperature, humidity, air circulati〓on, light, carbon dioxide, nutrients and other elements into account to〓 create the "perfect environment" for growth. A tightly controlled env〓ironment not oQ

nly maximizes growth potential, but also allows scientist〓s to create food that suits specific needs, Zheng said. For example, s〓cientists can lower the amount of potassium from lettuce for patients w〓ith kidney problems or increase zinc in cabbage for children by alterin〓g the nutrient solution and growing conditions. "This is the fundament〓al difference between a plant factory and conventional farm," ho

e said. 〓"We simply have extensive control over how and when our plants can grow〓, and let nature run its course in the most ideal conditions." The req〓uirements for plant growth fall into two broad categories: photosynthes〓is and soil nutrients. The sun accounts for 90 percent of all botanic 〓bioenergy through photosynthesis a process in which plants combine car〓bon dioxide i

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and water and turn them into carbohydrates and oxygen. Sunl〓ight is a bundle of different wavelengths of light across a wide spectr〓um from ultraviolet to infrared. Plants are "picky eaters that favor b〓lue and red lights", Li said. "If we can figure out what ratio and comb〓ination of lights are best suited for each plant's growth, then we can 〓change or create LED lights that shine at that specific intensity and s〓pectrum, saving lots of energy in the process," he added. While blue a〓nd red lights are the "meat and potatoes" of a plant's growth, scientis〓ts notice other spectrums of lighC

t also play a subtle role in maximizin〓g growth and quality. For example, scientists discovered that adding s〓ome green light to the red-blue recipe could help some vegetables grow,〓 while too much green light puts plants into hibernation, although this〓 is helpful for the plant's nutrient build up. "Mimicking sunlight usi〓ng LED is very energy intensive," Li said. "At the end of the day, whoe〓ver has the most energy-efficient and productive light recipe wins." W〓hile plant growth mostly relies on light, water and carbon dioxide, it 〓stM

for plant growth, and use t〓echnologies to cater to their every needs." Before entering the plant 〓factory, visitors must put on a dual-layered jumpsuit, goggles, a face 〓mask, rubber gloves and boots, and be disinfected from head to toe. Sne〓ezing in the fab

ill needs some trace elements from soil or fertilizers to be healthy.〓 In the case of plant factories, hydroponic nutrient solutions infused 〓with 17 essential elements ranging from nitrogen to calcium have replac〓ed the tilted soil. "The content of the nutrient solution isX

also tail〓ored to suit the plant's specific needs," said Pei Kequan, a research d〓irector at the factory. Unlike the trace elements from fertilizers, whi〓ch are locked in big compound molecules, "the nutrients in the solution〓 are broken into small molecules, meaning the plant can absorb them8

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