Research Under Way on LED Lighting and Plug Production

June 13, 2012 - 22:20

Purdue University is investigating the effects of LED lighting during young plant (plug) production.

Purdue University is investigating the effects of LED lighting during young plant (plug) production.

The project began in 2010 with a four-year United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Specialty Crops Research Initiative grant to improve and evaluate LED lighting for greenhouse use.

The project is titled "Developing LED Lighting Technology and Practices for Sustainable Specialty-Crop Production." The goal is to increase greenhouse yields and decrease producers’ energy costs.

Cary Mitchell, a professor of horticulture and project director for the grant, said Purdue researchers will collaborate with Rutgers University, the University of Arizona, Michigan State University and Orbitec Technologies Corp.

"We believe that LED supplemental lighting with a high red and blue ratio will produce high-quality marketable plugs at an earlier date than HPS supplemental lighting, the current industry standard,” Mitchell said.

The Phillips and Purdue project will managed by assistant professor Roberto Lopez and graduate student Michael Ortiz. This research project will compare young bedding plant growth and development under traditional high pressure sodium lamp lighting to different combinations of red and blue LED lighting. The goal is to find a sustainable lighting strategy of producing high-quality young plants in the shortest amount of time.

During the first phase of the trials the top 10 bedding plants produced in the United States will be investigated, such as petunias and geraniums. The initial test results are expected in June and final results are expected at the end of 2012.

Hort Americas, Philips’ LED Horti Partner for the United States, is involved in this project, as well as Dr. Johann Buck as technical services manager.

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