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Plant factory opens in Osaka building

Trading giant Marubeni Corp. has opened a showroom for a new type of ""plant factory"" in the second basement of its Osaka branch building in Osaka City. It uses special soil to grow vegetables with controlled light and temperatures, uninfluenced by season or weather. The specialized soil is able to raise root vegetables such as radishes and burdock that are difficult to grow in the conventional hydroponic culture system. The indoor growing of plants gives them a low risk of exposure to harmful insects and makes chemical-free cultivation possible. The special soil is capable of storing water and fertilizer 10 times and 50 times more than common soil, respectively, and can sharply cut down on the use of water and fertilizer. Marubeni said light-emitting diodes capable of changing wavelengths of light as well as fluorescent light can adjust the quantity of light, boost the flavor and nutritional value of plants, and speed up their growth. It also said plants grown in the building could be expected to almost match the flavor of those raised in open culture. (photo)
Marubeni plans to sell factory equipment to businesses interested in participating in agriculture by utilizing vacant space inside factories and buildings not only in Japan but also in Middle East and other desertified countries suffering from water shortages.

For inquiries, please contact Specialty Chemicals Dept., Marubeni Corp. (Tel: 06-6266-4278;
URL: http://www.marubeni.co.jp/)