News - May 30, 2013

Faster growth with LED lighting

Bleiswijk opens LED centre for greenhouse horticulture.
Wageningen and Philips are investigating the benefits of LED.

Red LED lamps in particular may boost plant growth.
On 16 May, Wageningen UR Greenhouse Horticulture in Bleiswijk played host to around 250 market gardeners interested in what LED lighting has to offer horticulture. The experimental centre is carrying out a number of experiments jointly with Philips.
Leo Marcelis, who is heading the research, thinks LED lighting boosts greenhouse plants' photosynthesis, with a potential rise in yields of around ten percent. In particular, the red light in the LED's light spectrum results in this production growth. LED lights also make it easier to control the plant shape and you can place them between the plants (as opposed to lamps above the plants), which he expects will increase growth rates and yields for greenhouse vegetables. The centre is also researching whether tomatoes subjected to LED lighting contain more vitamin C, have a longer shelf life and are more resistant to mildew. In addition to the trials at Bleiswijk, three PhD students in Wageningen are investigating LED lighting as part of the BioSolarCells programme. LED lamps use less energy than conventional lamps but they are much more expensive, says Leo Marcelis. That is why LED lighting has to offer market gardeners other benefits. It was clear on 16 May that there is a lot of interest in LED lighting in the horticulture sector.