Hungarian researchers have grown peppers in a bioreactor. This is how they reinterpreted greenhouse cultivation. The peppers created by the researchers are rich in vitamin C, nutrients and, of course, flavour. This technology, which can be also used in space, could provide a solution to the food crisis of the future.
At the Dreamers of Dreams 20 exhibition in Budapest’s Millenáris Park, visitors can see and even taste peppers made with the new technology. Experts from the University of Debrecen’s Space Nutrition Research Group have already harvested their special peppers several times. The researchers are growing the popular Hungarian vegetable in a bioreactor.
Miklós Fári, a professor at the University of Debrecen, is leading the research. Fári told index.hu that the “space pepper” they developed tastes exactly the same as peppers grown under conventional conditions. The research team’s tests show that their peppers are rich in nutrients, vitamin C and carotene. Just like regular peppers. In fact, the foliage of the space pepper is edible because it has not been treated with artificial substances. The plant biologist says it tastes most like arugula.
Vertical farming technology already exists abroad, for example in the Netherlands and Japan. The method is used to supply the population with fresh food. “In metropolises of several million people, supplying the population with fresh food is a major logistical and production problem. Enclosed urban farming is a realistic answer to this problem,” said Miklós Fári.
Paprika is a well-known Hungaricum all over the world.
Albert Szentgyörgyi was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1937 for his research on paprika. Fári believes that paprika is the elite crop of science.
In the 1980s, the University of New Mexico created a variety of pepper that requires less light and water. It was later included in NASA’s space crop program. The seeds of Hatsch peppers were sown at Kennedy Space Center and launched into space in 2021. Members of Expedition 66 were able to taste the first peppers grown in space in October.
The experiments of the Space Nutrition Research Group at the University of Debrecen were carried out in parallel. The method was the same, but they were experimenting with a Hungarian pepper variety. The Hungarian team asked for a sample of NASA’s peppers for comparison, writes unideb.hu.
“The chilli pepper sent up yields more leaves and less fruit than the Hungarian sweet paprika, while the former yields one part fruit per six parts leaf, ours produces two parts fruit per part stem and leaf head because of better photosynthesis efficiency. In addition, the domestic version requires less energy to produce, less light and nutrients,” Fári summarised the results.
Source: index.hu, unideb.hu