Heliospectra and the LEDs Make it Resilient Research Consortium Initiates New Project with Focus on Light and Biocontrol Agents

GOTHENBURG, Sweden, 4 November 2021 at 14:10 CET

Heliospectra AB, a world leader in intelligent lightingtechnology for greenhouse and controlled plant growth environments, and a proud member of the researchconsortium LEDs Make it Resilient initiates a new project focusing on theeffects of light quality on plant growth and plant resilience, in terms ofinteractions with bumblebees and biocontrol agents. Heliospectra acts as a lighting partnerand industry expert and is supplying the project with its fully controllable ELIXIA LED-lighting solution and expertise.  


LEDs Make it Resilient is a 4-year Ph.D. program run by an interdisciplinary team atWageningen University with three Ph.D. candidates. The project is backed by aproject consortium also including industrial partners; Heliospectra AB, BiobestN.V., Enza Seeds, Florensis B.V., Schoneveld Breeding B.V., and WestlandsePlantenkwekerij, all with considerable experience and expertise within horticultureand their field of expertise.

Led by Ph.D. student Davy Meijer at WageningenUniversity andResearch at the Departmentof Entomology, the new project started mid-October andwill focus on the effects of far-red light on plants and its interaction withbumblebees and biocontrol agents, such as predatory mites. The tests will beconducted in greenhouse conditions in Radix, Wageningen, and at the Greenlab ofBiobest in Belgium.    

“Changing the spectralcomposition of light has numerous advantages for the production and quality ofhorticultural crops. However, changes in light quality also have a markedeffect on plant-arthropod interactions, an area that has received littleattention so far. Beneficial insects such as pollinators and natural enemiesare an important aspect of sustainable and biological farming. It is thereforeimportant to understand how LEDs influence their behavior and theirinteractions with the crops. The findings of our research will thus haveimplications for the wider use of LEDs for sustainable greenhouse horticulture.”, said Davy Meijer, Ph.D. student at the Department of Entomology at WageningenUniversity & Research.

With the greenhouseindustry being responsible for approximately 10% of the natural gas consumptionin The Netherlands, and high-pressure sodium lamps being a major consumer, theLEDs Make it Resilient project explores new and exciting opportunities madepossible by LED lighting. Besides reducing the industry’s overall energyconsumption, the project investigates LED technology’s ability to create moreresilient plants and how light quality and temperature effects overall plant qualityand production. It also aims to improve sustainable pest control by makingcrops more resistant to pests from different feeding guilds while looking atbiological control of different pest species, crop growth, and underlying cropphysiology.

“The focus on thisresearch program – how to use LEDs for making the crop resilient to bioticstresses – is very important as it addresses a major problem in today’shorticultural production. It is also quite unique as this complex research areais not well studied. There are many research questions to answer, and this interdisciplinaryteam of researchers and industrial partners are well equipped to do so. Biological control agents or Beneficials are natural enemiesor competitors of crop pests,and we are excited to use thisinformation as we support growers with strategies for optimizing production”,said Daniel Bånkestad, Research Manager at Heliospectra.

For the trials,Heliospectra has supplied the consortium with ELIXIA LED lighting solutions. Heliospectra’s ELIXIA is designed and built on a foundation of over 15 years of research andexperience. Thefully adjustable, ELIXIA features up to four tunable wavelengths and iscompatible with helioCORETM, Heliospectra’s automated greenhouselight control system. The system enables researchers to create forecastproduction, predict yield and maximize growth which results in a consistent,high-quality crop production all year-round. 

For more information aboutthe ongoing project visit the project website on ResearchGate or read the already published articles LEDs Make It Resilient: Effects on Plant Growthand Defense publishedin Trends in Plant Science Nr. 27, December 2020, and Effects Of Low And High Red To Far-Red Light Ratio OnTamato Plant Morphology And Performance Of Four Arthropod Herbivores, published in Scientia Horticulturae volume292, January 2022.


For more information on how Heliospectra has helpedresearchers across the globe, visit our website https://led.heliospectra.com/research.

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