The feasibility of growing the medicinal plant Euphorbia peplus in a vertical hydroponic container

Vertical farming is considered as a potential solution to increase yield while decreasing resource use and pesticide impacts compared to conventional agriculture. However, the profitability of cultivating ordinary leafy green crops with low market prices in vertical farming is debated.

Researchers at Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech and the University of Liège have been studying the agro-economic feasibility of growing the medicinal plant—Euphorbia peplus—inside an Urban Crop Solutions plant factory. Read their findings in this peer-reviewed article published in MDPI Horticulturae.

This research studies the agronomic feasibility and viability of growing a medicinal plant—Euphorbia peplus—for its ingenol-mebutate content in a modified shipping container farm as an alternative crop cultivation system. The impacts of three hydroponic substrates, three light intensities, three plant localizations, and two surface areas on E. peplus yield and cost were tested in several scenarios. The optimization of biomass yield and area surface decreased the cultivation cost, with fresh crop cost per kg ranging from €185 to €59.

Three ingenol-mebutate extraction methods were tested. The best extraction yields and cheapest method can both be attributed to ethyl acetate at 120 °C, with a yield of 43.8 mg/kg at a cost of €38 per mg. Modeling of the profitability of a pharmaceutical gel based on ingenol-mebutate showed that economic feasibility was difficult to reach, but some factors could rapidly increase the profitability of this production.

Read the complete research at

Bafort, F.; Kohnen, S.; Maron, E.; Bouhadada, A.; Ancion, N.; Crutzen, N.; Jijakli, M.H. The Agro-Economic Feasibility of Growing the Medicinal Plant Euphorbia peplus in a Modified Vertical Hydroponic Shipping Container. Horticulturae 2022, 8, 256. 

For more information:
Urban Crop Solutions
Grote Heerweg 67, 8791 Beveren-Leie (Waregem), Belgium
800 Brickell Avenue 1100 Suite, Miami (FL 33131), USA
+32 56 96 03 06

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