SEOUL, March 15 (Korea Bizwire) — Heukharang or black harang, a lettuce variety with high levels of sleep-inducing lactucin, is set to be cultivated in Australia.
Developed by the Jeollanamdo Agricultural Research & Extension Services (JARES), heukharang contains 124 times more lactucin than regular lettuce, making it a valuable natural insomnia treatment.
As the lactucin in regular lettuce is not strong enough to be effective for insomnia, an adult with a body weight of 60 kilograms would need to consume 4 kilograms of lettuce to induce sleep.
Heukharang, on the other hand, contains 3.74 milligrams of lactucin per gram, making it much more effective.
JARES officials announced on Tuesday that an agreement had been signed with Korean chemical firm Isu Chemical Co. to produce and sell heukharang lettuce in Australia.
The smart farm where it will be cultivated will be one of the first of its kind in the country, with Australia being a new market for smart farms.
Australia has strict quarantine laws for imported food, but seeds can be imported. Thus, growing domestic seeds at local smart farms is seen as a viable alternative to exporting Korean agricultural products.
With a high gross national income and a large percentage of adults suffering from sleep disorders, Australia is considered a suitable market for high-value-added and functional vegetables such as heukharang.
The cultivation period for heukharang lettuce is 45-70 days, and it can be harvested four times a year. Unlike regular lettuce, it is harvested by cutting the bottom of the leafy stem, making it more cost-effective.
Officials at JARES believe that heukharang lettuce will be well-received in South Korea as well as a natural insomnia treatment ingredient.
The domestic insomnia treatment market was valued at 40 billion won (US$30 million) as of 2020, and has been growing at a rate of over 5 percent every year.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)