Farming without soil

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Farming without soil

New Japanese tech makes growing fruit and vegetables possible in any environment

Based on an article by Melinda Joe on Style.

Japanese experts make a breakthrough in farming technology, using polymer film to grow food.

In a tiny room inside the Mebiol Research and Development Center, a little over an hour outside of Tokyo, baby Cos lettuce leaves are growing in a tray under magenta-coloured lights. On another shelf, a miniature garden of microgreens is blooming across the surface of a salad dish. The seedlings have been cultivated without soil – atop a thin, transparent polymer film.

“Can you see the roots?” asks Hiroshi Yoshioka, Mebiol’s vice-president, lifting the edge of the plant-covered film to reveal a tangle of fine, pale filaments. He pulls the sheet off the plate and holds it in front of him like a leafy green carpet.

The polymer film is the key to a cutting-edge farming method that makes it possible to grow fruits and vegetables on practically any flat exterior. Made of hydrogel – a super absorbent material typically used in household products such as disposable diapers – the film works by soaking up water and nutrients through a multitude of nano-sized pores measuring one millionth of a millimetre in diameter. Plants grow on top of the film, but instead of digging into the ground, the roots spread across the surface of the membrane in wispy, fan-like formations.

This is a revolutionary discovery for the farming industry that help set the standard of farming techniques all over the world. The farming industry is challenged to think of innovative ways of safe farming that protects the crops from becoming too synthetic and also protecting the farm land and environment.

To read more about the discovery made at Mebiol Research and Development Center, follow this link: