As researchers at lighting companies learn more about the photosynthetic spectrum and how it can affect production for controlled environment agriculture, many of them are now going beyond the fundamentals of photobiology into a more nuanced understanding of plant responses to light quality.
For example, at the University of Florida, researchers are digging deeper to explore the photosynthetic spectrum as it relates to an often overlooked element of cultivation: water-use efficiency (WUE). According to a research update posted on Fluence Bioengineering’s website, by manipulating the ratios of red, blue, and green light, scientists are discovering how light affects WUE independently of other factors.
“Playing with light quality isn’t just impacting growth,” says Dr. Celina Gómez. “It’s impacting what we call ‘production outcomes’ — like the amount of water being used for production.”
Gómez and her team have found a correlation between the percentage of blue light applied to lettuce and its water intake. Ultimately, they observed that blue light decreases WUE, most likely by increasing stomatal conductance, a plant function strongly tied to transpiration.
Learn more about this research in the Fluence report.