ASX-listed Israeli agtech company Roots just completed a successful pilot scheme growing giant vegetables.
The star of the pilot scheme were a row of chives that Roots coaxed up to an average fresh weight of 268g, compared to an average weight of 75g. Merry early Christmas, chive fans:
The bigger chives also grew for 55 days, while the regular chives virtually stopped after 28 days.
The secret lies in the soil. Specifically, around the roots of the vegetables where proprietary technology known as Root Zone Temperature Optimisation (RZTO) keeps the root zone temperature at a stable 25C.
Roots launched into its ASX debut in December last year, listing at a 75 per cent premium (35 cents) to its offer price of 20 cents, which raised $5 million.
Its technology allows crops to be grown all year round by both heating and cooling root systems to optimise plant’s growth cycles.
The chive experiment was conducted during the Israeli summer from August through to October at Roots’ research site in central Israel.
Chives are traditionally a cool climate crop, but using the hybrid ground source heat exchange version of Roots’ RZTO system, the crops’ roots were cooled to remain relatively stable around 25C despite air temperatures in the greenhouse frequently topping 36C.
In comparison, roots of control plantings fluctuated between 27 and 31C.
“Pilots and proof of concepts are incredibly important in the agri-tech sector and are essential for generating sales in new segments,” Roots CEO Dr Sharon Devir said.
“Results on a variety of crops, environments and growing conditions validate the versatility of our technology and allow us to begin discussions with a broader target market.”
The technology is based on a closed-loop system of pipes. Lower coils are installed at a depth where soil temperature is stable and not affected by weather extremes, and upper coils target the crop’s root zone just below the soil surface.
Crop yield can be increased by as much as 50 per cent, according to Roots, and energy consumption reduced by up to 80 per cent.
Back in July, Roots announced plans to enter the US cannabis market, but despite its success, it’s been a steady drop for the company since launch.
Shares are currently trading at 0.18 cents.
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