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Fujitsu Hopes to Turn High-Tech Lettuce into Cash

Not your typical product from an electronics firm.

Lettuce inspection

Lettuce inspection. Workers inspect the lettuce in the Fukushima Prefecture facility. Image credit: Fujitsu.

Workers inspect the lettuce in the Fukushima Prefecture facility.

Fujitsu, the giant electronics manufacturer, is now engaged in developing lettuce, a product different from its usual catlogue, at the former factory in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. The lettuce, growing in a clean room, is engineered to incorporate low amounts of potassium. By application of a cloud computing system, the growing operation is made in the process so as to optimize levels of humidity, CO2 and fertilizer.

Fujitsu is intended to develop the lettuce as well as other vegetables with low content of potassium, which are desirable for the patients of kidney disease or those are on dialysis. Generally speaking, the ordinary lettuce contains nearly 500 mg of the mineral per 100 grams. However, this special kind of lettuce has five times less than that we usually eat now. Such lettuce also tastes nice because of lower content of nitrates.

It is surprising that instead of employing plant experts to grow the lettuce, Fujitsu offers the work to its semiconductor engineers. As Mayumi Mogi, a spokeswoman at Fujitsu said, their engineers had made the same efforts in developing the lettuce as well as they did with a semiconductor. Furthermore, they were facing the totally new challenges, for example, they were trying very hard to sterilize the lettuce and apply fertilizer at the right time

Is it possible for ordinary people to be confident in this brand-new product? To try it, Fujitsu has already sold its special lettuce at several stores and medical institutions. It is expected by the company that the sales from its high-tech vegetables could reach ¥400 million, equal to $3.91 million, in the year of 2016.

Source: The Japan Times