R&D Philosophy

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts – we research and develop all of our technologies in-house to ensure that each part improves efficiency across the whole vertical farm.

Weng Shou Ping

Director of R&D

Ultra-fine bubbles promote good bacteria for healthier, tastier produce

Before our R&D team began pioneering Gelponic technology, all YesHealth Group vertical farms were hydroponic. The principle of hydroponics is that, although a plant’s roots are suspended in soil, its growth cannot be attributed to the soil. The medium of growth is water. Therefore, by removing soil from the equation and delivering water directly to the roots, growth can be more efficient.

The problem with hydroponics is that bacteria grow in the water, and while some bacteria can be good for plant health, other bacteria can be bad. At YesHealth Group, we studied the affects of different bacteria on plant health and found that plants need aerobic, as opposed to anaerobic bacteria.

As the water temperature rises, the oxygen level in the water is depleted and anaerobic bacteria grow, producing algae and moss that are harmful to plant health. When the water is well oxygenated, however, aerobic bacteria flourish and help the plant’s roots to absorb nutrients.

Led by our Chief Technology Advisor, Professor Wang-Nang Wang, our team developed an ultra-fine bubble aeration system, which effectively increases the oxygen level in the water, promoting good bacteria for healthy plants with superior appearance, taste and texture.

Hydroponics | YesHealth Group | Photo by Alastair Philip Wiper

YesBase is a revolutionary hydrogel that's plant-based and zero-waste

While water is the plant’s growth medium, the roots also require a soil substitute or medium for suspension. This usually takes the form of a sponge, cloth or fibrous substrate that the plant’s roots can interweave and bind with, providing a firm base for growth.

At YesHealth Group, we see two major issues with the majority of substrate materials used in hydroponic agriculture. Some materials are prone to disintegration, contaminating the water in the hydroponics system. Other materials remain intact and become waste, which could be non-biodegradable in many cases.

Hydroponics | YesHealth Group | Photo by Alastair Philip Wiper
Hydroponics | YesHealth Group | Photo by Alastair Philip Wiper
Photos by Alastair Philip Wiper

That’s why we developed our own unique substrate, YesBase - an edible, plant-based hydrogel. Initially, YesBase provides a firm base for growth, suspending the plant during its infancy. We add microbial nutrients to the YesBase formula, which help the seed to germinate and grow into a healthy seedling. As it grows, YesBase is absorbed into the plant, leaving it ready to harvest with the roots on.

YesBase does not contaminate the water after dissolution, and therefore it has no negative impact on plant health, appearance, taste or texture. Its main benefit is waste reduction, effectively decarbonizing the vertical farm. What's more, there's no need to cut or wash the produce before consumption.

The application and seeding process is fully automated, and the YesBase hydrogel itself comes at a fraction of the cost of other substrate materials such as sponge.

Plant a Seed and Press Grow!

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