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Through the project ‘The New Growing, keep it up!’ four green universities of applied sciences, the business community and researchers are working together on feasible energy-efficient cultivation concepts for use in practice. The students of INHolland University of Applied Sciences, together with cultivation advisor Wim van der Enden and grower Peter de Munck, have worked on building up knowledge about the water balance in relation to growth and quality in the cultivation of hydrangeas.

They looked at, among other things:

  • the influence of EC (salinity) and irrigation frequency;
  • allow more light through diffuse coating, do not chalk and screen less;
  • stress monitoring with Vivent sensors.

Sensors

In this project, a new type of plant stress sensors, produced by the Swiss company Vivent, were tested in cut flowers for the first time. These biosensors continuously monitor the crop and register stress based on electrical communication in the plant. Every plant has periods in which growth stagnates as a result of stress from environmental factors such as crop handling, wind, light, water, salt, pathogens, etc.

Stress alert

Using a dashboard, the students and the researchers detected the moments of stress with Vivent Biosensors and analyzed them by linking them to events in hydrangea cultivation. The grower receives a stress alert when there is a moment of stress. Through this research, experience has been built up with these sensors in hydrangea cultivation and these have been evaluated. The grower can zoom in on moments of stress and take action to reduce this stress. This allows a grower to control his crop better and prevent unwanted growth inhibition. This study shows that Vivent’s biosensors are able to reveal the stress response of hydrangea plants as a result of undesirable climate changes, excessive irradiation or emerging diseases and pests.

Knowledge to SMEs

This project was carried out as a pilot with support from Top Sector Horticulture & Propagation Materials (T&U). It is important for SMEs to have accessible access to developed technology so that they can continue to innovate their business processes. Through this pilot, Top Sector T&U wants to stimulate access to and use of technology for SMEs by validating and evaluating technology. This allows the weaknesses and strengths of a technology to be assessed, after which it can be decided whether a technology is useful and how it can be used in practice.

The goal of ‘The New Growing, keep it up!’ is to allow the application of the cultivation method Het Nieuwe Telen in horticultural practice to continue to grow and to take root more deeply.

Published on March 17, 2023.

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