Initial research results have highlighted, across all varieties, a net difference in growth between plants exposed to the LED lights and the natural-light-only “control” plants. The most evident differences concerned, above all, flowering and overall growth. Plants exposed only to natural light developed very green tissue, elongated stems and larger than normal leaves, characteristics which, from a qualitative standpoint, are not positive. Plants exposed to the LEDs, instead, flowered more abundantly, also maintaining a compact form and sturdy stems while exhibiting leaf sizes comparable to those of plants grown in full sunlight during spring-summer. In addition to allowing greater, better plant development, these aspects also have an impact on marketability thanks to the resulting high product quality.
Cefla Group company C-LED and the University of Bologna have set themselves the twin goals of technological innovation and sustainable development in the vegetable, flower and nursery crops sector via a research project that combines innovative LED light design-development expertise with agricultural engineering and ornamental plant growing know-how. One of the key factors in this joint project is the synergy between the university and local manufacturing and business communities: this research is being carried out in the Imola-based section of the University of Bologna, which, within the multi-campus Unibo network, is known for its focus on two cornerstones of sustainability, safety and the environment..
The initial stage of experimentation, which concerns popular ornamental plants, such as the common yet imprecisely named “geranium” (Pelargonium zonale) and surfinia, an equally common variety of cascading petunia (Petunia cv Surfinia), is being performed in the high-tech experimental greenhouses of the University of Bologna, allowing University researchers and technicians from C-LED’s R&D Division to assess the qualitative-quantitative effects of different light spectra (and intensities) on plant growth. The spectra are obtained using different types of LED light, optimised according to the needs of the different crops.
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