July 26, 2017: Philips Lighting has developed a new growth technique that produces seven times the average vitamin C content in arugula, which is called rocket salad.
The arugula rich in vitamin C is produced at Philips Lighting’s GrowWise Research Center. These were tested and found to have seven times higher vitamin C content than the published USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) value of 15 mg/100 gr.
This trial is being done in collaboration with the Dutch Wageningen University and Research, and Maastricht University. The trial uses a new growth recipe under Philips LED lighting in a vertical farming environment without any daylight.
Retailers and growers can apply Philips light recipes using LED technologies to meet the growing demand for functional foods. Vitamin C is one of the markers of shelf life, as a result, the high vitamin C levels in the arugula will help retailers extend the popular green’s shelf life, says Philips Lighting.
“A Philips growth recipe provides parameters for growing a crop that include the light level, spectrum, intensity, required uniformity, position and time, as well as climate conditions like temperature, humidity, CO2 levels and nutrition” explains Udo van Slooten, Managing Director for Philips Lighting Horticulture LED Solutions.
“This achievement confirms the tangible benefits that our research at Philips GrowWise Center is delivering for growers and retailers as they look to meet specific consumer needs like optimized smell, taste and flavor to differentiate themselves in their markets.”
The arugula grown under the LED lighting with Philips growth recipe shows a low nitrate level while having a high yield. Low nitrate levels also have higher sugar levels and a milder taste.
The leaves grown under the LED lighting scored between five and eight on the Brix index, which means a higher perception of sweetness in sensory tastes. The low nitrate levels achieved in this trial are considerably lower than those set by the European Union, which range from 7000 mg/kg to 6000 mg/kg). This low-nitrate arugula will help retailers to meet the growing demand for low-nitrate foods from consumers in these countries.
The arugula crop was tested in four different lighting situations with three different LED lighting combinations and one artificial light source that mimicked the sun and/or HPS lighting.