Growing for ingredients and product characteristics

Growing for ingredients and product characteristics

Horticultural products are increasingly grown specifically because of their ingredients or special characteristics. The beauty and health industry plays an important role in this. And by moving traditional outdoor products into the greenhouse, they not only guarantee a safe environment for the production, but also get a more sustainable product with a higher quality.

Filip van Noort is crop specialist at Wageningen University & Research in The Netherlands. He tries to make cultivation protocols for 'new products' for greenhouse horticulture. This is about products that were not professionally grown in greenhouses, but for which a closed cultivation environment can be promising. “For the future it is becoming uncertain whether we will be able to obtain the ingredients needed for medicines and perfumes in sufficient quantities and on time. Also, we see that the quality of products in the broadest sense is declining. Either the level of the ingredients is lower or diseases and pests cause the characteristics of a plant to change. As a result, there is an increasing need to grow plants in a different way: in a greenhouse or indoors. By growing in a more closed environment, you keep control over the product and you are more in charge of water, fertilization, biological control to grow a good, healthy product.”

Ideal cultivation recipe

According to Van Noort, there is a growing demand for the transfer of traditional outdoor crops to greenhouses or vertical farms. Companies and organizations turn to Wageningen University & Research for this, after which Van Noort as a researcher gets to work. “The first question I always ask is what the actual contribution of growing that product in the greenhouse is. In addition, it is important where the plant comes from, how it is currently grown and what needs to change to be able to grow that plant in a greenhouse. After that, I look for the ideal greenhouse cultivation recipe to get the most out of the plant.”

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Photo Courtesy of GreenTech



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