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Re-circulating indoor vertical farm : Technicalities of an automated duckweed biomass production system and protein feed product quality evaluation

  • Duckweeds are fast-growing and nutritious plants, which are gaining increased attention in different fields of application. Especially for animal nutrition, alternative protein sources are needed to substitute soybean meal. The current bottleneck is the standardized production of biomass, which yields stable quantities of a defined product quality. To solve this problem, an indoor vertical farm (IVF) for duckweed biomass production was developed. It consists of nine vertically stacked basins with a total production area of 25.5 m2. The nutrient solution, a modified N-medium, re-circulated within the IVF with a maximum flow rate of 10 L min−1. Nutrients were automatically added based on electrical conductivity. In contrast, ammonium was continuously supplied. A water temperature of 23 °C and a light intensity of 105 μmol m−2 s−1 with a photoperiod of 12:12 h were applied. During a 40-day production phase, a total of 35.6 kg of fresh duckweed biomass (equals 2.1 kg of dried product) was harvested from the IVF. On average, 0.9 kg day−1 of fresh biomass was produced. The dried product contained 32% crude protein (CP) and high levels of proteinogenic amino acids (e.g. lysine: 5.42 g, threonine: 3.85 g and leucine: 7.59 g/100 g CP). Biomass of this quality could be used as a protein feed alternative to soybean meal. The described IVF represents a modular model system for duckweed biomass production in a controlled environment and further innovations and upscaling processes.

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Author:Finn PetersenORCiD, Johannes DemannORCiD, Jannis von SalzenORCiD, Hans-Werner OlfsORCiD, Heiner Westendarp, Petra WolfORCiD, Klaus-Jürgen AppenrothORCiD, Andreas UlbrichORCiD
Title (English):Re-circulating indoor vertical farm : Technicalities of an automated duckweed biomass production system and protein feed product quality evaluation
Parent Title (English):Journal of Cleaner Production
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2022
Release Date:2024/03/21
Tag:Amino acid; Animal nutrition; Lemnaceae; Standardized production; Upscaling; Water lentils
Article Number:134894
Page Number:11
Faculties:Fakultät AuL
DDC classes:600 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 630 Landwirtschaft, Veterinärmedizin
Review Status:Peer Reviewed
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY-NC-ND - Namensnennung - Nicht kommerziell - Keine Bearbeitungen 4.0 International