Purdue University investigating the effects of LEDs

Below is a press release from Philips Horti (responsible for the Philips GreenPower Horticultural LEDs.)

Hort Americas is very proud to be very involved with this project and looks forward to speaking to many of you about this trial and others at the OFA Short Course 2012.

Now that Philips’ LED range has been certified for the American market a number of projects have immediately been started. One of them is taking place at Purdue University in the United States, to investigate the effects of LEDs during floriculture young plant (plug) production. Purdue started 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.”

Philips Lighting is happy to cooperate with Purdue University to map out the possibilities for using LEDs in the greenhouse, with a view to finding a sustainable method of producing crops in a greenhouse. This will benefit the horticulture sector in America. The LED solutions of Philips lighting are based on years of experience and close co-operation with the horticultural world. Successful field tests with growers and breeders around the globe gave them an unparalleled knowledge of the growth effects of lighting on different crops throughout their growth cycle. It’s allowed Philips to create a unique approach to lighting with specific “light recipes” that can be tailored. A wide variety of crops can benefit from LED while it is possible now to grow in multilayer environments without any daylight. This is also proven in practice for the tissue culture segment as well.

“The high-intensity discharge lamps used today are inefficient. When you have acres and acres of greenhouses with these lamps in them, it really adds up,” Mitchell said. “With LED lighting, we should be able to do as well or better with much less energy.”
The specialty crop industry plays an enormously important part in American agriculture and is valued at approximately $50 billion every year. These projects will be key to providing specialty crop producers with the information and tools they need to successfully grow, process, and market safe and high-quality products. Mitchell’s work will include testing LED lighting on high-wire tomatoes. Those plants can grow taller than 20 feet, and traditional overhead lighting doesn’t reach the lower parts of many plants. Mitchell believes that using LED lights on the sides of plants will increase photosynthesis and flowering, improving yield.

Erik Runkle at Michigan State will test flower initiation of ornamental crops with different colors of LEDs, as well as performing project outreach. 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 Philips LED lighting. The goal is to find a sustainable lighting strategy of producing high-quality young plants in the shortest amount of time that will benefit the commercial floriculture in a greenhouse industry in America by consuming less energy. 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. These bedding plant crops represent a large proportion of the total floriculture sector in America.  Philips GreenPower research modules are being used for the trials at Purdue University. The advantage of this lighting solution is that they are dimmable and available in various colors, including deep red, blue and far red. 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.

For further information contact:
Hort Americas at infohortamericas@gmail.com

Keith Robinson, Ag Communications
Purdue University
Tel.: (765) 494-2722
E-mail: robins89@purdue.edu

Visit our corporate website at https://hortamericas.com