Changing Light On Vegetables Makes Them Tastier, No Need For Gene-Edit, Research Results

Saanvi Araav - Apr 18, 2019


Changing Light On Vegetables Makes Them Tastier, No Need For Gene-Edit, Research Results

MIT researchers have found that by exposing vegetables to enough light, they can make them much tastier than present supermarket products.

It is logical that farmer must have reliable products in order to make a decent profit from their crops.

Surely, because each farmer only has a limited area of land to work with so that a limited number of plants need to produce enough output. But this focus on the amount of product can result in some not really tasty products.

Trade off between quantity and quality

Try to think about a vegetable - like a tomato for example. In your local market, you will notice two varieties of tomatoes, one is much bigger and the other is smaller but much tastier. That is due to the  "dilution effect". It is an overlap between the compounds the plant needs to produce tasty fruits.

Scientists Found Out How To Use Light To Increase

They were trying out many different stress factors on the basil plants to see the result in flavor

This happens commonly among fruits coming from large scale farms in comparison with tomatoes in small scale gardens. However, we don't really have to sacrifice those flavor, according to MIT researchers.

A group of scientists from MIT's OpenAG lead by  Caleb Harper has carried out research on basil plants. They were trying out many different stress factors on the basil plants to see the result in flavor. He said to Digital Trends:
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The process to make tastier vegetables

This group of researchers working together with the University of Texas has discovered that leaving the basil under light for 24 hours per day would make them the tastiest. This constant beam of light will make the plant produce more secondary metabolites - the organic compounds that help the plant keep animals away. And these metabolites will affect everything from the insects, the drought to even how the plants taste.

Scientists Found Out How To Use Light To Increase

They grow the basil in hydroponic boxes, will many circuits and sensors

However, they had no reason to believe that exposing the plant to 24-hour light will make it tastier so they began with just 18 hours. The one that suggested the idea of  24-hour light is an AI algorithm (custom-developed by Cognizant and MIT). It has analyzed all the factors before coming up with this suggestion.

They grow the basil in hydroponic boxes, with many circuits and sensors, which allow the team to monitor and control every aspect of the growing process.

Caleb Harper said:

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