Per Jarle Møllerhagen

Research Scientist

(+47) 404 84 168


Visiting address
Nylinna 226, 2849 Kapp


The resilience of global food security is a critical concern. Facing limited access to land and potential disruption of the food markets, alternative, scalable, and efficient production systems are needed as a complementary buffer for maintenance of food production integrity. The purpose of this study was to introduce an alternative hydroponic potato growing system where potatoes are grown in bare wood fiber as a growing medium. A system utilizing drip irrigation and plastic bags as containers was tested for three different types of wood fiber, two cultivars and two fertigation strategies. Implementation of the system resulted in ~300% higher tuber production when compared to the local conventional farming. Mineral composition of the tubers obtained from hydroponic system was similar to the composition of tubers grown in the field and revealed potential for biofortification. In addition, a fertigation strategy where the two application points were separated across the root zone resulted in tubers with dry matter content comparable to the potatoes grown in soil. The recyclability, reusability, and simplicity of this solution may encourage its application for improving security of food production in selected areas of the world as well as its utilization in urban agriculture.


Potato contributes highly to the global food security. It is predicted that the production of this crop will be negatively affected by future climatic changes. Application of hydroponics for table potato production can mitigate crop loss in highly vulnerable regions. A preliminary small-scale case-study was performed to test theoretical perspectives of hydroponic production of table potatoes in wood fiber by comparing different fiber types and fertigation strategies. Potatoes were also grown in the field to obtain a reference control. Hydroponic production of potato in a stand-alone wood fiber resulted in ca. 200% higher yield, when compared to standard soil cultivation. However, the quality of the tubers was slightly reduced (lower dry matter content). Productivity of table potatoes was affected by the growing medium and fertigation strategy. Production of potatoes in wood fiber is possible and, in the future, might complement the conventional production systems, or even become an important alternative in locations where in-field cultivation is not possible. Nevertheless, the effect of wood fiber properties and the applied fertigation strategy on yield potential and tuber quality should be further studied. Optimization of these factors will be a topic of a following full-scale research.