Artist’s rendition of UbiQD’s quantum dot-enabled greenhouse film, UbiGro™, installed in a lunar greenhouse growing tomatoes. Courtesy/UbiQD, Inc.
…The peer-reviewed study presents collaborative research with the University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center, validating the importance of light color on crop productivity
UbiQD, Inc., a Los Alamos-based advanced materials company, announced today that it has published the groundbreaking results of the first phase of its NASA-funded plant trials in the open-access Nature Research journal, “Communications Biology”.
The study validates the use of quantum dots for optimized crop growth on space missions. The collaborative research and development project with the University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center (UA-CEAC) demonstrated a 13 percent biomass improvement for red romaine lettuce using UbiQD’s orange-emitting, luminescent greenhouse product UbiGro™, and a 9 percent increase for a new red-emitting film.
The plant trial was designed to maintain all growth parameters except spectrum, and showed improved photosynthetic efficiency under the film treatments compared to the unmodified control case. These results demonstrate the importance of light color on plant growth, and how this technology can improve crop productivity, both on Earth and in Space.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to develop an understanding of quantum dot capabilities to improve crop production,” said Gene Giacomelli, a professor of Biosystems Engineering at University of Arizona, who leads the work at UA-CEAC. “Ultimately, UbiQD’s technology is about the betterment of crop production, and will lead to new strategies for optimizing production in greenhouses.”
In late 2018, UbiQD was awarded the phase I contract as part of NASA’s strategic mission to advance capabilities for food production in space. In 2020, NASA awarded UbiQD a phase II contract for exploring new light recipes, and the company also received a matching award from the New Mexico Economic Development Department to further commercialization.
Read the full research study here.
About UbiQD, Inc.
UbiQD is an advanced materials company powering product innovations in agriculture, clean energy, and security. Our quantum dots enable industry leaders to harness the power of light. Our first product, UbiGro®, is a layer of light that uses fluorescence to create a more optimal greenhouse spectrum for crops. Headquartered in Los Alamos, New Mexico, the company is licensing technology developed at leading research institutions, including Los Alamos National Laboratory and MIT. To learn more, please visit: http://www.ubiqd.com and http://www.ubigro.com.
About University of Arizona Controlled Environment Agriculture Center
The Mission of the University of Arizona Controlled Environment Agriculture Center (UA-CEAC) is to develop economically, environmentally and socially sustainable agricultural systems that will provide food of high quality for helping to feed the world. Engineers and scientists focus on CEA production agricultural practices within greenhouses, growth rooms, and vertical farms. Learn more: https://ceac.arizona.edu/
About NASA STTR Program
The NASA STTR program is sponsored by its Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) and managed at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. STMD is responsible for developing the cross-cutting, pioneering, new technologies and capabilities needed by the agency to achieve its current and future missions. Learn more about the awards: https://sbir.nasa.gov/prg_selection/node/62898.