Improved yield and health benefits of watercress grown in indoor vertical farm

Watercress (Nasturtium officinale R. Br.) is a highly nutritious leafy crop with a rich health-related phytonutrient profile, including secondary plant metabolites such as glucosinolates. This semi-aquatic crop is well-suited for indoor hydroponic cultivation and has a growing market for its distinctive peppery taste and health benefits.

We describe crop trials in three contrasting environments and report the changes to plant morphology, yield, and nutritional profile under varying blue light treatments. Yield and glucosinolate quantity were significantly increased in a vertical farm system enriched in blue light relative to field-grown crops. Additionally, PBITC, a glucosinolate not previously identified in field-grown watercress, was found in plants grown in a vertical farm. This work demonstrates the great potential of watercress in a new era of controlled environment agriculture to deliver improved health benefits to customers.

Qian, Yufei & Hibbert, Lauren & Milner, Suzanne & Katz, Ella & Kliebenstein, Daniel & Taylor, Gail. (2022). Improved yield and health benefits of watercress grown in an indoor vertical farm. Scientia Horticulturae. 300. 111068. 10.1016/j.scienta.2022.111068. 

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