NASA trials validates use of quantum dots for optimised crop growth on space missions

The collaborative research demonstrated a 13 per cent biomass improvement for red romaine lettuce using UbiQD's orange-emitting, luminescent greenhouse product UbiGro, and a 9% increase for a new red-emitting film.

Image source: PR Newswire

Image source: PR Newswire

UbiQD, Inc., a New Mexico-based advanced materials company, announced that it has published the groundbreaking results of the first phase of its NASA-funded plant trials in the open-access Nature Research journal, "Communications Biology." The study validates the use of quantum dots for optimised crop growth on space missions. The collaborative research and development project with the University of Arizona's Controlled Environment Agriculture Center (UA-CEAC) demonstrated a 13 per cent biomass improvement for red romaine lettuce using UbiQD's orange-emitting, luminescent greenhouse product UbiGro, and a 9 per cent increase for a new red-emitting film.

The plant trial was designed to maintain all growth parameters except spectrum and showed improved photosynthetic efficiency under the film treatments compared to the unmodified control case. These results demonstrate the importance of light color on plant growth, and how this technology can improve crop productivity, both on Earth and in Space.

"We are grateful for the opportunity to develop an understanding of quantum dot capabilities to improve crop production," said Gene Giacomelli, a professor of Biosystems Engineering at the University of Arizona, who leads the work at UA-CEAC. "Ultimately, UbiQD's technology is about the betterment of crop production, and will lead to new strategies for optimizing production in greenhouses."

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