SCIENTISTS in Glasgow have started work on a pioneering project that will allow indoor farmers to pinpoint the best conditions for growing their crops.

Laser experts at the city’s Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics have been enlisted by Grobotic Systems, a start-up founded in Sheffield last year, to help develop its specialised plant growth chambers.

The chambers will enable farmers to find the best environmental conditions or “plant growth recipe” to cultivate high-quality crops, minimising wasted resources and increasing productivity, it is claimed.

It is based on how different wavelengths or colours of light affect crop growth, flavour, nutritional value, and even medicinal properties.

READ MORE: More than 40 vertical farms set for sites across UK

Grobotic System’s chamber has a tunable array of LEDs that will let farmers experiment with different colours to find the most effective “light recipe” for their crop, which could be lettuce with more anthocyanin for greater antioxidant properties or sweeter, juicier strawberries.

The Fraunhofer team will play a key role in creating a new state-of-the-art integrated imaging system to measure the growth rate and quality of crops throughout the process.

READ MORE: Scottish vertical farming pioneer's £5.4m backing to fund 120 jobs

Henry Bookey, of the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics, said: “We are delighted to be involved in developing tools to allow a much more efficient and effective way of farming. Fraunhofer’s network of global research centres harness science to benefit industry and this particular idea could have wide commercial application.”

READ MORE: ‘Vertical’ farming on the way up to counter climate change threat

Dr Alexis Moschopoulos, co-founder and managing director of Grobotic Systems, said vertical farming has “the potential to meet the demands of a growing population and to reduce the environmental impact of agriculture”.

“However, as a new technology, and despite huge investment, vertical farming is not nearly as efficient or profitable as it needs to be in order to meet these demands.

“With our chamber identifying the best plant growth recipes, we believe we can help farmers,” he added.