Agriculture Research and Innovation Centre

The Agriculture Research and Innovation (AGRI) Centre aims to help local farms increase crop production and enhance farm operations. The Centre adopts a multidisciplinary approach focusing on:

  • improving the quality of farm produce
  • harnessing automation and engineering solutions for enhancing farm productivity
  • developing SMART farming solutions
  • evolving Technology for sustainable farming, and
  • increasing consumer awareness and market value of crops

Working on this exciting centre is our team of experts consists of plant biologists, microbiologists, molecular biologists, food scientists, engineers, data analysts, and market researchers.

Food and Formulation Science TC

Our Projects

The Centre focuses on plant science to increase crop qualities and yields. The studies are aimed to:

  • increase the understanding of the physiological needs of the plants leading to improved plant growth,
  • seek metabolic pathways leading to enhanced flavours, and
  • understand the mechanisms involved in disease / stress resistance

Some of our projects include:

 

  • Using Genetics and Breeding tools to identify superior varieties. Through phenotyping we aim to identify seeds varieties with traits suited for agriculture in a controlled environment. Marker-assisted breeding reduces the time for generating new varieties that are well-suited for growth using advanced agricultural technologies. 
  • Nutrients formulations that can significantly improve plant quality in hydroponic based farming. We invite farmers to work with us on customisation of species-specific formulations and growth parameters so as to improve plant yield and optimise resource utilisation.
  • Interactions between plant and microbes. This is a study to increase stress resistance in plants, in presence of beneficial microbes, especially for substrate-based farming. These improve the plants’ ability to withstand stress naturally. 
  • LED assisted grow recipes. The AI-based LED integration systems which we have developed will facilitate development of light recipes – to improve nutrients, flavour and colour of plants.
  • Farm operations. Using technologies such as image recognition, internet-of-things, machine learning and robotics, we aim to customise solutions that improve farm operations and increase productivity.
  • Sustainable Farming. Studies to improve resource efficiency utilisation are ongoing. These include nutrient recycling, extracting nutrients from organic sources, and energy efficient farm designs.

Our Facility 

Agritech lab-38
Agritech lab-34

Urban Agriculture Technology (UAT) Lab houses state of the art facilities for growing plants on vertical growing systems using artificial lighting and hydroponic based farming. The facility has industry standard systems for Nutrient Film Technique (NFT), Deep Water Culture (DWC), vertical plane-Zipgrow towers and substrate technologies for farming. The plants are grown under various light modules allowing a choice of light spectra and intensities to optimise growth conditions. Automated logging of temperature, humidity and CO2 allow remote monitoring of the growing environment.

The lab supports the growth of green leafy vegetables such as pak choi, mustard, lettuce, kale, herbs, microgreens and soft fruits such as cherry tomatoes. 

What's NEW!

Coming your way in 2021, the new Integrated Agriculture Hub will offer growing facilities for plants under controlled climate as well as in ambient temperatures using sunlight. It will support growing of fruiting plants such as tomatoes, melons, peppers and leafy greens.

It will also house container-based farming systems for mushroom cultivation and semi-automated growth of leafy greens and premium crops in controlled environment.

The grow facilities are supported by experimental labs for downstream studies such as:

  • biochemical and molecular characterisations,
  • microbial analysis,
  • metabolites and nutrient analysis,
  • plant tissue culture/micro propagation
  • product development of farm produce
  • sensory evaluation of vegetable and fruits
  • product shelf life studies

Related Training Courses 

Interested in working with us?

If you are keen to explore opportunities in agriculture research and innovation with us, please email Dr Ritu Bhalla