NYP researchers develop breakthrough for food farming

Researchers from the Nanyang Polytechnic’s (NYP) School of Engineering have found a way to make plants grow bigger and faster, a novel breakthrough that has potential far reaching effects for boosting food farming in Singapore.

A film has been developed based on nanotechnology that converts sunlight to red and blue wavelengths, that main type of light that plants need for growth. Known as the Nano Glo-n-Grow, the innovation maximises the use of sunlight without the need for additional electrical power.

Researchers of NYP School of Engineering have a novel way to make plants grow bigger and faster. Photo courtesy: EOE Singapore

The NYP researchers’ tests showed that 96 per cent of plants which received light via the nano-coated film had increased growth. The plants also showed, on average, a 40 per cent increase in leaf area, and a 190 per cent increase in height.

While there are currently methods that use light-emitting diode (LED) lights in greenhouses to help plants grow indoors without sunlight, they are more costly.

For a 1m-by-1m illumination area, the cost of an LED panel, excluding the electricity bill, ranges from S$80 to S$130. In contrast, a 1m-by-1m nano-coated film costs less than S$20.

So far, NYP researchers have conducted only small-scale experiments using Nano Glo-n-Grow. They expect the product to be on the market for commercial use in about one to two years.

NYP senior lecturer Dr Hannah Gardner gave the assurance that Nano Glo-n-Grow would not lead to plants developing any defects.

“(The film) is not in the plants or on the plants. It’s placed only on the outside of the greenhouses, so it does not directly affect the plants,” she said.

Author
Ashraf Jamal
Ashraf Jamal – Senior Writer

Ashraf Jamal brings a rare depth to writing equipped with a degree in journalism, a postgraduate degree in political science, and a degree in law from the Allahabad University. His experience includes editing and publishing the Northern India Patrika and writing for Times of India for almost a decade covering just about any topic under the sun including NRIs and Indian diaspora.

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