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Can LED Grow Lights Change The Future Of Crop Production?

If you have followed the evolution of LEDs as a lighting solution for Horticultural purposes, you might know about the extensive research that has been (and continues to be) conducted about the Benefits of using LED Grow Lamps on your crops. Things like energy efficiency, better crop quality, and higher nutritional content are consistently uncovered in this research. But what more exists about LED Grow Lights that makes them a game changer for greenhouse and indoor growers?

Hort Americas, a certified supplier of Horticulture products, recently wrote an article about the potential of LEDs to change the way crops are grown. The article, written by David Kuack, explains how plant scientist, Dean Kopsell, has been using LEDs to expose crops to specific wavelengths to “…influence nutritional values of edible crops, enhance the intensity of foliage and flower color, and improve the postharvest longevity of ornamental and edible crops.”

Here we present some key takeaways we believe are important for you to know more about the benefits of Light Manipulation:

Image: Researchers at the University of Tennessee are finding that exposing plants like brassicas to blue light is having a significant effect on their nutritional value

Working with wavelengths and light ratios:

“We are shifting the light ratios and putting more blue light into the mix. Blue light is close to the ultraviolet (UV) range and has higher energy values than red light. Because of the higher energy level associated with blue light, the more blue light we are exposing the plants to, it seems the more significant the results are on nutritional values”

Plants respond and adapt to different environments:

“…whether plants are grown outdoors, in a greenhouse or in a closed controlled environment with artificial light, the plants are using specific wavelengths from the available light source…Providing specific types of red and blue light, the amount of stress on plants is reduced because the plants don’t have to tolerate the light not being used for metabolism and physiology…”

Image: University of Tennessee studies have shown LEDs provide  a less stressful light environment for plants

Tweaking and tuning for better results:

“Growers are going to be able to use LEDs to fine tune the light environment. It’s going to depend on the crop, how it’s being grown, where it’s being grown and how the crop will be used. Is it an ornamental, edible or medicinal crop? It’s not going to be as easy as sticking a seed or cutting into a substrate and letting Mother Nature take control. It’s really going to take some fine tune management…”


Dean Kopsell, University of Tennessee, Plant Sciences Department, Institute of Agriculture, Knoxville, TN 37996-4561; (865) 974-1145; dkopsell@utk.edu.

David Kuack is a freelance technical writer in Fort Worth, Texas; dkuack@gmail.com