Lighting company LumiGrow has launched a new product line of early disease detection sensors and services, made possible through a new partnership.
“Our partnership with Scanit Technologies marks a major shift in how crop disease will now be managed,” says LumiGrow CEO, Jay Albere II. “It all starts with empowering growers to take preventative action towards disease management, rather than being forced to issue treatment actions when it’s often too late. We’re now calling for growers interested in joining our partnership to develop custom strategies for their cultivation environments.”
The LumiGrow SporeCam sensors (powered by Scanit Technologies), which are available to order from LumiGrow, can capture, inspect, and classify harmful airborne spores for diseases such as powdery mildew and botrytis. The result is that growers can optimize pest management practices, minimize yield losses, and monitor the effectiveness of their treatments.
But what does disease detection have to do with LED lighting? LumiGrow Vice President of Research Melanie Yelton notes that smart lighting can also be used as an additional tool for responding to plant disease.
“Scientists have investigated the promise of light to reduce plant pathogen pressure since 1997,” Yelton says. “Our growers have also long reported a noticeable reduction in the incidence of fungal and fungal-like pathogens in their crops under smart LED fixtures.”
Research institutions such as Cornell University are finding that specific light spectrum can inhibit the spread of spores for a large range of crops.
The way the new system works is through the LumiGrow wireless lighting control system, smartPAR. At the first notice of disease from the SporeCam, a wireless control system adjusts the LumiGrow smart LED fixtures automatically to a spectrum targeted for disease suppression. The grower then has the potential to gain time to implement a comprehensive disease management strategy.
The new feature is called smartPAR Rapid Response.
“By integrating our SporeCam airborne disease sensor technology directly into the LumiGrow platform, we take a large step towards Scanit’s vision of a pro-active disease management solution,” says Glenn Wanke, Chief Commercial Officer at Scanit Technologies. “This will be transformative for the indoor horticulture industry, enabling sensing of early disease activity and dynamically suppressing spore activity.”
Scanit Technologies has been deploying sensors in the U.S. and Canada for the last three years. Outdoor wine and table grape growers as well as cannabis, floriculture, fruit, and vegetable growers have begun using these sensors as Scanit continues to build their disease libraries.
“Our partnership with LumiGrow really illustrates the next age of agricultural technology,” Wanke says. “When you’re on the cutting edge of new technology, it’s critical that technology companies work in collaboration with growers to address these fundamental problems together.”