Development of novel robotic platforms for mechanical stress induction, and their effects on plant morphology, elements, and metabolism

Polina Kurtser, Victor Castro-Alves, Ajay Arunachalam, Viktor Sjöberg, Ulf Hanell, Tuulia Hyötyläinen, Henrik Andreasson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

This research evaluates the effect on herbal crops of mechanical stress induced by two specially developed robotic platforms. The changes in plant morphology, metabolite profiles, and element content are evaluated in a series of three empirical experiments, conducted in greenhouse and CNC growing bed conditions, for the case of basil plant growth. Results show significant changes in morphological features, including shortening of overall stem length by up to 40% and inter-node distances by up to 80%, for plants treated with a robotic mechanical stress-induction protocol, compared to control groups. Treated plants showed a significant increase in element absorption, by 20–250% compared to controls, and changes in the metabolite profiles suggested an improvement in plants’ nutritional profiles. These results suggest that repetitive, robotic, mechanical stimuli could be potentially beneficial for plants’ nutritional and taste properties, and could be performed with no human intervention (and therefore labor cost). The changes in morphological aspects of the plant could potentially replace practices involving chemical treatment of the plants, leading to more sustainable crop production.

Original languageEnglish
Article number23876
JournalScientific Reports
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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