Plants perceive and adapt to their environmental surroundings for optimal growth and development. Illumination is the most powerful environmental stimulus for plant growth and plants have sophisticated sensing systems to monitor light quantity, quality, direction, and duration. Pigments and photoreceptors present on plants control plant photosynthetic and photomorphogenic processes.
The range of light that induces photosynthesis in plants is called Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR), and is defined as radiation over the spectral range of 400 to 700nm. Every absorbed photon regardless of its wavelength contributes equally to the photosynthetic process. The range of light that generates photomorphogenic processes ranges from 350 –750nm. These processes play a major role in the development of new tissues. The common unit of measurement for PAR is Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density (PPFD), measured in units of moles per square meter per second.
The plant’s metabolite production is also influenced by light spectrum. In addition to the primary metabolites of carbohydrates and amino‐acids, secondary metabolites are also influenced by light quality. Many secondary metabolites are key components for plant defensive mechanisms. They also contribute to odors, tastes and colors. At this point, little is known about the manipulation of these secondary metabolites under artificial illumination systems. But it is known that restricting the light spectrum to a handful of wavelengths can be detrimental for plant development.
Using LED technology allows us to manipulate the light spectrum to trigger benefits in indoor production systems. With indoor lighting it is possible to create a custom-designed spectrum to control plants’ development cycle and enhance biomass production.
Beyond the benefits offered by LED technology, GrowRay exploits the advantage of LEDs’ controllability. Using a combination of full spectrum emitters along with specially selected monochromatic LEDs, we can control a plant’s developmental pathways. This stimulates photomorphogenic processes and maximizes biomass production through the photosynthetic process.