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Article|19 Feb 2022|OPEN
Plant factory technology lights up urban horticulture in the post-coronavirus world
Li Zhang1 , Xiao Yang1 , , Tao Li2 , Renyou Gan1 , Zheng Wang1 , Jie Peng1 , Jiangtao Hu1 , Junling Guo3 , Yang Zhang4 , Qingming Li1 and Qichang Yang,1 ,
1Institute of Urban Agriculture, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (IUA-CAAS), Chengdu National Agricultural Science and Technology Center (NASC), Chengdu, 610213, China
2Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development in Agriculture, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing, 100081, China
3BMI Center for Biomass Materials and Nanointerfaces, School of Biomass Science and Engineering, Sichuan University, Chengdu, 610065, China
4Key Laboratory of Bio-resource and Eco-environment of Ministry of Education, College of Life Sciences, Sichuan University, Chengdu, 610065, China
*Corresponding author. E-mail:,

Horticulture Research 9,
Article number: uhac018 (2022)
Views: 182

Received: 08 Oct 2021
Accepted: 04 Jan 2022
Published online: 19 Feb 2022


Dear Editor,

The pandemic of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has highlighted the critical importance of ensuring a consistent supply of horticultural products (e.g. vegetables and fruits) [1]. Worldwide quarantine and social distancing led to transportation disruptions, labor shortages, and limited access to local markets, all of which had a significant impact on the production, post-harvest processing, distribution, and consumption of horticultural products in urban areas. Moreover, the traditional agricultural approach is currently facing the unprecedented challenge of feeding an expanding population, as approximately 6.7 billion people are expected to live in urban areas by 2050. Rapid urbanization brings great challenges to horticultural production: gradual shrinking of arable land, declining numbers of agricultural practitioners, reduced availability of irrigation water for farming, increased costs of food transportation, and exacerbation of environmental deterioration. Thus, the supply of horticultural products to urban areas will depend critically on whether such farming systems can enable steady and effective production, a stable and balanced supply, shortened distribution chains, and consistent availability and accessibility of products without compromising safety concerns. In this regard, plant factories with artificial light (PFALs) represent an innovative and promising production system that has shown great potential for stable, effective production of horticultural products both during and after the COVID-19 crisis.