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A growing tray in the Vegetable Production System (Veggie) that is headed to the ISS (Phot...

The International Space Station (ISS) may be a remarkable piece of engineering, but it’s so drab that it needs a window box to brighten things up. That isn't possible in the vacuum of space, but NASA is doing the next best thing on Monday as it sends its Vegetable Production System (Veggie) to the space station aboard the SpaceX Dragon CRS-3 mission. However, this plant-growing chamber will be more than a horticultural experiment, it's also a bit more culinary as it lets astronauts put fresh salad on the menu.  Read More

Ingameoffice has installed a green wall system into the TYJ Office Building in Shenzhen, C...

The benefits to health and wellbeing of having plants and greenery around an office are well documented. This project by Ingameoffice is more than just a few pot plants, though. Its TYJ Office Building refurbishment uses a vertical planting system in which plants can be moved around.  Read More

Click and Grow has launched its Smart Herb Garden

It's always useful to have fresh herbs to hand in the kitchen, but they can easily wither if not well-fed and watered. Click and Grow wanted to overcome this problem. Its Smart Herb Garden is now available. It plugs into the wall and lets users grow their herbs without having to lift a finger.  Read More

Droplet works by selectively watering the plants in your garden

There's no two ways about it: your common or garden sprinkler (so garden, in all probability) is a blithering half-wit. Rain or no, if you don't turn it off, it'll water your lawn whether it needs it or not, and much more besides. The Droplet wants to change all that. A sort of "smart" water cannon, it knows which parts of your garden to water, and when.  Read More

By infusing the leaves of an Arabidopsis thaliana plant with nanoparticles, MIT researcher...

In 2010, Stanford University researchers reported harnessing energy directly from chloroplasts, the cellular "power plants" within plants where photosynthesis takes place. Now, by embedding different types of carbon nanotubes into these chloroplasts, a team at MIT has boosted plants' ability to capture light energy. As well as opening up the possibility of creating "bionic plants" with enhanced energy production, the same approach could be used to create plants with environmental monitoring capabilities.  Read More

Researchers have discovered conditions that would allow plants to grow quickly in optimal ...

There's a conundrum of growing food in outer space: the same optimal conditions that create quick plant growth also leaves them missing a nutrient that protects human eyes from radiation, such as astronauts experience. However, scientists under the direction of Barbara Demmig-Adams at the University of Colorado Boulder have developed a method of using bright pulses of light to trick plants into producing more zeaxanthin, which humans cannot produce on their own but is essential for long-term eye health and visual acuity.  Read More

Scientists are working on a biofuel-producing strain of sugarcane  (Photo: Shutterstock)

Sugarcane grows like crazy, so if it could be used as a source of biofuel, well ... not only might it produce higher yields than other crops, but it could conceivably do so using less land. With that in mind, scientists from the University of Illinois are creating a strain of the plant that produces more oil, gets more energy from the sun, and can be grown in colder climates.  Read More

The PPlanter in use, by a person and a bamboo plant

If you live in a big city, then there are doubtless alleyways or alcoves you know of that always smell like pee. While it might help to install public urinals in these places, doing so involves a lot of work and expense. Porta Potties are one alternative, although Oakland, California-based Hyphae Design Laboratory has developed a more eco-friendly solution known as the PPlanter. It's a self-contained modular system, that uses bamboo to process the pee.  Read More

The Salicornia is one species of halophyte that is a promising feedstock for biofuel produ...

Whenever the topic of plant-derived biofuels is raised, the issue of turning valuable arable land over to the task of growing feedstock is generally not far behind. A discovery by the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium (SRBC) that desert plants fed by seawater can produce biofuel more efficiently than other well-known feedstocks could help alleviate such concerns.  Read More

The PLEASED project aims to turn plants into environmental biosensors (Image: Shutterstock...

Many claim that talking to plants helps them grow faster. But what if the plants could talk back? That’s what the EU-funded PLants Employed As SEnsing Devices (PLEASED) project is hoping to achieve by creating plant cyborgs, or "plant-borgs." While this technology won't allow green thumbs to carry on a conversation with their plants, it will provide feedback on their environment by enabling the plants to act as biosensors.  Read More

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