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HOME > No.19, Nov 2019 > Making Cut Flowers Last Longer

Making Cut Flowers Last Longer

Development of plasma nutrient water production system and plasma gas freshness preservation system By Hirofumi Takikawa
Chirality of vitamin-D derivative affects the protonation states of its receptor protein

Professor Hirofumi Takikawa and Assistant Professor Toru Harigai at the Electrical and Electronic Information Engineering Department and Associate Professor Takahiro Yamauchi at the Research Center for Agrotechnology and Biotechnology, a research group of Toyohashi University of Technology, have been working on the development of technology that can make cut flowers last longer. In order to realise a practical implementation of the developed technology, the research team collaborated with Sinfonia Technology Co., Ltd. in Toyohashi, to develop a plasma nutrient water production system and a plasma gas freshness preservation system.

Fig.1 Concept of the production process of plasma nutrient water

The flower industry faces several issues such as strengthening brands, saving cost and energy in production, preserving freshness and improving vase life, and improving resistance to diseases. Among these, preserving freshness and improving vase life are expected not only to make products more appealing, but also to open up new opportunities for distribution such as overseas exports. In recent years, efforts have been underway to guarantee a long vase life.

Against this background, Toyohashi University of Technology has developed a technology that uses discharge plasma to sterilize tap water and at the same time produce plasma nutrient water containing nitrogen oxides, which act as nutrients for plants. A patented material was used for the discharge electrode, a system of sensors that constantly measures the concentration of nitrogen oxides (nitrate ions and nitrite ions) in the production line was developed, and a patent was applied for. Sinfonia Technology Co., Ltd. has now produced a plasma nutrient water production system incorporating these technologies.

Fig.2 Plasma nutrient water production system

The system can produce 6 liters of high-concentration plasma nutrient water in 10 hours. In actual use, this is diluted to 50% concentration. Power consumption is low at about 120W. The company has also developed a new system (plasma gas freshness preservation system) that irradiates plasma gas containing ozone when unloading products before shipping. In terms of performance, the effect of extending the vase life of roses was confirmed in joint research conducted with JA Aichi Minami.

In addition, the research group is also promoting the development of optical environment measurement technology using solar cells to contribute to the increased use of IoT in the agricultural field. The group has provided technology to Sinfonia Technology Co., Ltd. and developed a photon flux density measuring device (band-spectral quantum meter) with a resolution of 100 nm. With this device, the growth environment can be easily confirmed.


By 滝川 浩史






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Researcher Profile

Hirofumi Takikawa
Name Hirofumi Takikawa
Affiliation Department of Electrical and Electronic Information Engineering
Title Professor
Fields of Research Plasma Application Technology / Thin Solid Films, Surface Treatment, Nano-materials / Renewable Energy Technology