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Blue Light

Blue Light

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Plant Science Topics:

 

-Photosynthesis

-Phototropism

-Inhibition of stem elongation

-Stomatal opening

-Seedling growth regulation

-Chloroplast movement?

-Stimulate production of pigments

-Stimulate production of terpenes

 

Recommendations to Apply the Science:

 

-Reduce stretching, promote compact growth

-Targeting ideal ratio of blue light to other colors

-Increasing plant pigments (improve leaf color)

 

Product References:

 

-Solar System 550

-Solar System Controller

-Sunburst CMH

-powerPAR Red LED

-powerPAR Blue LED

-Jump Start T5 48W 4' LED Strip/Reflector Fixture

-Jump Start 24W 2' LED Strip/Reflector Fixture

-powerPAR Commercial 4 ft LED Fixture

-Active Aqua Stand, Light Hanger, Low Profile Legs, and Flood Tables

Blue Light (400 nm to 500 nm)

 

A plant doesn’t need every color of light to grow, all colors can have an effect on growth, but some are critical for normal growth, at least, based on the current understanding of horticultural lighting. The colors critical for normal growth are blue and red. Many led grow lights only use blue and red, both of these colors contribute to photosynthesis, the conversion of light energy into chemical energy which a plant save up generally in the form of sugar.

 

But Besides powering photosynthesis, blue and red can greatly affect the way a plant grows, it’s height, pigmentation, nutrient content…

 

In this episode we’ll focus on blue. (graphic blue 400-500 nm)

 

Plants use blue light as a reference for total light intensity. The ratio of blue light is part of the way a plant determines if it is in full sun or shade, and this dictates several physiological responses.

 

A plant in intense light grows smaller leaves because it can get all of the energy it needs with less leaf area.

 

A plant in intense light stays shorter because it doesn’t need to reach for the light, it’s not trying to grow tall to penetrate a forest canopy to reach full sun.

 

A plant in intense light opens up its stomata, pores on its leaves, so it can exhale oxygen and water vapor and inhale carbon dioxide, all of which is important to maintain the process of photosynthesis which occurs in intense light.

 

A plant in intense light will increase its pigmentation, as we saw in the previous episode on UV, intense light often stimulates anthocyanin production, the red pigment. This pigment acts as a sunscreen to protect the plant from intense light.

 

Graphic (Anthocyanin is an antioxidant, which may add nutritional benefits to crops)

 

Blue light will create a similar effect, even when used in environments with low light intensity.

 

Additionally, blue light is involved in phototropism, when a plant orients itself in response to light, moving in the direction of light to receive more.

 

(SET UP EXAMPLE)

 

So how can a grower manipulate blue light for their benefit?

 

One of the most common grow lights, a T5 fluorescent delivers a decent amount of blue light and can create compact growth if provided at high enough intensities.

 

Metal Halide and Ceramic Metal Halide lights like this one also provide a good amount of blue light.

 

LED grow lights provide many options for adding blue light to a grow. There are lights that provide only blue, and lights that provide a mix of red and blue, and lights that look white but are actually just blue leds with a phosphorous coating that makes it so they provide a wider spectrum but primarily blue. And theres tuneable, programmable LED fixtures that give the grower the ability to adjust the intensity of various colors of light including blue.

 

An increasing number of growers are moving towards custom light recipes for crops, and specific light recipes for various stages of growth.

 

Many growers doing flowering crops prefer blue early stages and red during flowering.

 

-Reduce stretching, promote compact growth

-Targeting ideal ratio of blue light to other colors

-Increasing plant pigments (improve leaf color)

 

For lettuce, red can often increase leaf expansion which is nice, but may not get color desired, so I could change recipe during last couple weeks to increase pigmentation and anthocyanin concentration and increase antioxidants.

 

Well it’s been a few weeks, let’s see how these plants look. Yes, oh I’m glad this worked, thanks science! I’m going to change the lights to view mode so we can see what we’ve got going on… explain then.

 

This has been episode 4 of Plants and Light thank you for watching.. For more information on horticultural lighting visit FarmerTyler.com. In the next episode I go deep undercover, to learn the mysteries of green light. I’m Farmer Tyler and the more you know, the better you grow