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id. 〓"We simply have extensive control over how and when our plants can grow〓, and let nature run its course in the most ideal conditions." The req〓uirements for plant growth fall into two broad categories: photosynthes〓is and soil nutrients. The sun accounts for 90 percent of all botanic 〓bioenergy through photosynthesis a process in which plants combine car〓bon dioxide and water and turn them into carbohydrates and oxygen. Sunl〓ight is a bundle of different wavelengths of light across a wide spectr〓um from ultraviolet to infrared. Plants are "picky eaters that favor b〓lue and red lights", Li said. "If we can figure out what ratio and comb〓ination of lights are best suited for each plant's growth, then we can 〓change or create LED lights that shine at that specific intensity and s〓pectrum, saving lots of energy in the process," he added. While blue a〓nd red lights are the "meat and potatoes" of a plant's growth, scientis〓ts notice other spectrums of light also play a subtle role in maximizin〓g growth and quality. For example, scientists discovered that adding s〓ome green light to the red-blue recipe could help some vegetables grow,〓 while too much green light puts plants into hibernation, although this〓 is helpful for the plant's nutrient build up. "Mimicking sunlight usi〓ng LED is very energy intensive," Li said. "At the end of the day, whoe〓ver has the most energy-efficient and productive light recipe wins." W〓hile plant growth mostly relies on light, water and carbon dioxide, it 〓still needs some trace elements from soil or fertilizers to be healthy.〓 In the case of plant factories, hydroponic nutrient solutions infused 〓with 17 essential elements ranging from nitrogen to calcium have replac〓ed the tilted soil. "The content of the nutrient solution is also tail〓ored to suit the plant's specific needs," said Pei Kequan, a research d〓irector at the factory. Unlike the trace elements from fertilizers, whi〓ch are locked in big compound molecules, "the nutrients in the solution〓 are broken into small molecules, meaning the plant can absorb them eas〓ier and grow faster while keeping its nutrient value and taste". It ta〓kes about 20 days for a sapling to reach maturity in the lab, but 40 to〓 60 days in a conventional farm. This means scientists can reap more th〓an a dozen harvests of produce each year, compared with one to two harv〓ests from a conventiov

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nal farms, depending on the weather conditions, he〓 said. Moreover, scientists at the facility have built the infrastruct〓ure to monitor the elements in the solution. Once an element is deplete〓d, scientist can add the missing nutrient and reuse the solution withou〓t needing to make a new batch, thus reducing the cost. "We go to great〓 length to study and cater to our plant's most fundamental needs, makin〓g sure they could grow under the best coC

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nditions," Pei said. "In a way,〓 the plants are the kings, and we are all its servants." It's high tim〓e we find a sustainable and green way to protect our food security."BEIJING, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- China will tighten regulation and revis〓e standards on an extensive range of food and drugs, according to t〓he national food and drug watchdog Monday.The State Council has rec〓ently issued national safety plans on food and drug safety for the 〓13th Five-year Plan period (2016-2020), calling for improved superv〓ision and safety net, said the China Food and Drug Administration (〓CFDA).The plans require whole-process control and whole chain regul〓ation on food and drugs, especially on source control and risk prev〓ention. Food tests meeting quality standards should be up to 97 per〓cent.An inter-departmental mechanism for food and drug safety will 〓be improved as a better deterrent against offenses.A total of 1.1 m〓illion cases concerning food safety have been handled nationwide fr〓om 2013 to 2015. Violators will receive severe punishment in future〓, such as criminal liability for the adulteration of food, the CFDA〓 said.The plans also said that no less than 300 food safety standar〓ds and about 3,050 drug safety standards must be revised during the〓 five year period.NAIROBI, Feb. 22 -- The locust outbreak plaguing East Africa calls f●or a concerted international response as the most dreaded insects d●evour millions of hectares of vegetation in their cross-border migr●ation, exacerbating the already fragile food security situation in B

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●the region. A girl shows the desert locusts in Kitui County, Kenya●, Feb. 20, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhang Yu) The desert locust, which can tra●vel 150 km in a single day, is deemed the most devastating of locus●ts. A small swarm covering one square km can eat the same amount of● food as 35,000 people in a day, said the United Nations Food and A●griculture Organization (FAO). "The situation remains extremely ala●rming in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia where widespread desert locust● infestations and a new generation of breeding threaten food securi●ty and livelihoods in the region," it noted Tuesday. The locusts mo●st recently invaded South Sudan from Uganda, and the South Sudan go●vernment is seeking funds worth 20 million U.S. dollars for chemica●ls, sprays and personnel to counter the locust invasion. The Horn o●f Africa is faced wK

ith unprecedented challenges of food security an●d economic development, with a humanitarian crisis looming ahead. T●he FAO has urged immediate, adequate countermeasures and intensifie●d international efforts. A swarm of desert locusts in0

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vade parts of● Mwingi Town in Kitui County, Kenya, Feb. 20, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhang Y●u) EAT AWAY HOPE The locust outbreak is the worst in 70 years in Ke●nya, and the worst in 25 years in Somalia and Ethiopia, where the i●nsects bred before spreading to Kenya and other countries. In Kenya●, locust swarms were seen to move like huge dark clouds before desc●ending on farms, nibbling away pasture, maize, khat, cowpeas, beans● and other crops in hours. Areas like Mandera and Isiolo in the nor●th, and Tharaka Nithi in central Kenya, were attacked again after a●erial chemical pesticides spraying. Although the government has spr●ayed pesticide and other chemicals on a wide range of areas in orde●r to curb the locust outbreak, at least 18 of Kenya's 47 counties w●ere affected. Kello Harsama, the administrative secretary heading t

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駂e State Department for Crop Development under Kenya's Ministry of ●Agriculture, said the government will work with the FAO to train 60●0 chemical spraying personnel. "Aerial spraying of the pesticide in● the lasV

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t two months is yet to achieve desired results, thus we nee●d to devise innovative strategies like the use of the trainees, far●mers and extension workers to conduct ground spraying starting with● northern countie7

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s of Isiolo, Marsabit, Turkana and Wajir," he said●. "My crops had done well following the heavy rains and I was looki●ng forward to a bumper harvest but then the locusts came and ate aw●ay my hope," Beatrice NgarY

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i, a farmer in Embu, central Kenya, told ●Xinhua. But Ngari was unaware that it is also the predicament of ma●ny farmers across Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Tanzania, South Sudan a●nd Uganda. The rains between Octobel

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