Hortibiz: Growth and shape of potted plants can be controlled with light
The Greenhouse Horticulture business unit of Wageningen University & Research (WUR) is researching how dynamic light spectra, in combination with temperature and nutrition, can be used to sustainably grow compact and resilient plants. Oreon is supplying its multi-layer fixture Embrace for this multi-year project. This makes the WUR the first user of Oreon's newest LED fixture. The Embrace has all the capabilities that WUR needs to conduct this experiment.
Alternatives to chemical growth regulators
When you grow pot and bedding plants, the aim is to have a compact and resilient crop. Due to the increasing restrictions on the use of chemical growth regulators, alternative non-chemical methods for the production of compact plants are being sought. Research shows that certain light colors can promote compactness. It turns out that not only the color (spectrum) is important, but also the time of day at which that spectrum is achieved.
For the project “Light and Growth: Sustainable control using light,” Wageningen University & Research started a pilot study at the end of April, in which different types of bedding plants are grown under different light spectra from germination to flowering. The treatments were selected based on knowledge of physiology. In the first cultivation round, treatments were used with different proportions of blue light and an adapted temperature strategy. During the study, they will look at whether extra blue light should be given at certain times of the day - such as around sunrise and sunset. The use of dynamic light spectra is still in the experimental phase.
Oreon’s Embrace makes it possible to test various light spectra. The spectrum of this multi-layer fixture consists of 5 different colors spread across 3 channels, with each channel being adjustable from 0-100% in increments of 0.5%. The dynamic spectrum can be adjusted or pre-programmed at any time, offering maximum flexibility to study how the plant reacts to the different colors of light.
The WUR is not only experimenting with lighting. Light utilization by the plants is also investigated by using screens that ensure the sunlight is spread as evenly as possible over the crop. The extent to which this occurs is called Hortiscatter and is expressed in percentages. During the research, experiments are first carried out with LED lighting and these screens separately, and then they are combined.
Club of 100
The research is funded by the members of the “Club of 100” of the WUR’s Greenhouse Horticulture business unit and through the Kas als Energiebron (greenhouse as a source of energy) program. Oreon is one of the companies in the “Club of 100” and will be supporting the WUR during the “Sustainable control using light” project.