In the world of agriculture and horticulture, the role of light in the growth of plants cannot be underestimated. With advancements in technology, especially the development of LED grow lights, we now have the ability to fine-tune light recipes for specific plants, especially those with medicinal properties. This article delves into the science behind optimizing light conditions for medical plants, emphasizing the significance of light quality, quantity, and duration in achieving the desired objectives.
When it comes to cultivating medical crops, the goals are clear: enhancing specific chemical contents within the plant and maintaining a steady supply. Achieving these objectives requires a deep understanding of the role light plays in plant growth. Light quality, light quantity, and light duration are key parameters that dictate a plant’s overall health and productivity.
Light quality, often referred to as the light spectrum, is a blend of various wavelengths spanning from ultraviolet (UV) to infrared (IR), which plants absorb during photosynthesis. Each wavelength serves a unique purpose, impacting plant morphology and secondary metabolites. These secondary metabolites, responsible for taste, flavor, color, and chemical composition in plants, make light quality a crucial factor in optimizing medicinal plant growth. Moreover, the size and shape of the plant, collectively known as plant morphology, are also influenced by light quality.
The intensity of light, also known as light quantity or light intensity, has a direct bearing on plant biomass. Measured in Daily Light Integral (DLI) and Photosynthesis Photon Flux Density (PPFD), light intensity determines the energy available for plant photosynthesis. DLI represents the daily light requirement of a particular plant, while PPFD measures the amount of light reaching the plant’s surface per unit area. A high light intensity promotes vigorous growth, making it an indispensable aspect of any lighting recipe for medicinal plants
Photoperiod, or light duration, directly influences a plant’s flowering pattern. Different plants fall into three categories based on photoperiod: long day plants, short day plants, and day-neutral plants. Long day plants bloom during shorter nights, short day plants flower during longer nights, and day-neutral plants are unaffected by photoperiod. This parameter plays a pivotal role in cultivating medical plants, particularly in controlled environments such as greenhouses.
Imagine cultivating medicinal plants in a controlled environment with the aim of ensuring a consistent supply. To design an effective light recipe, it’s crucial to consider the plant’s natural habitat, geographical location, and seasonal changes. This information helps determine the appropriate DLI and photoperiod required for optimal growth. Coupled with the plant’s growth stage—vegetative, flowering, or fruiting—you can select the ideal light spectrum.
For plants with specific chemical compounds of interest, the lighting spectrum becomes a game-changer. To enhance targeted chemical content, a series of trials are conducted using a specialized 4×4 grow chamber and AI software. Each trial involves meticulous documentation of factors like leaf size, plant height, number of leaves, and chemical content. The data collected is then fed into the AI software, which generates insights for further experimentation. Through this trial-and-error process, the right light spectrum is identified to stimulate the production of desired chemicals within the plant.
A compelling example that illustrates the potential of tailored light recipes is the Cordyceps militaris project conducted three years ago. The objective was to boost cordycepin levels, a significant chemical compound. The client had been using conventional T5 lights in their facility. By substituting the T5 lights with a custom-designed lighting spectrum, cordycepin levels witnessed a remarkable increase of up to 25%. This success story highlights how strategic manipulation of light can yield impressive results in medicinal plant cultivation.
Let discuss this case in details,
We have conducted 10+ trails to determine best possible spectrum for growth cordycepin level at cordyceps militaries.
TC 1 – 17 watt Nexsel CMF spectrum
TC 2 – 22 watt, warm white LED light
We have done testing on two different stain of cordyceps militaries and compare Cordycepin & Adenosine level of each. For this trail we kept all parameters constant except light spectrum.
Check below images of final output
After the trails we have tested both strain at FICCI RESEARCH & ANALYSIS CENTER and we have got following interesting results.
Final outcome for Adenosine level
Table 1 – Adenosine Level
From above results it shows that in strain 1 Adenosine level reduced by 30% and in strain 2 by 20% at TC 2 test center.
Final outcome for Cordycepin level
Table 2 – Cordycepin Level
From above results it shows that in strain 1 Cordycepin level increased by 26% and in strain 2 by 12%
Final Conclusion of trail
Above observation shows that under TC 1 light we can get avg. 18% increase in cordycepin level compared to TC2 light
Similar way we have done trails on Vinca rosea and we found 56% improvement in vincristine content in vinca rosea.
With the help of right expertise, we can develop proper lighting recipes for medical plant. LED grow light has important role in medical plant light recipe along with lighting intensity and photoperiod.
In the pursuit of optimizing the growth of medicinal plants, harnessing the power of light is essential. From enhancing chemical content to ensuring a steady supply of plants, the art of crafting tailored light recipes involves understanding light quality, quantity, and duration. Leveraging modern technologies like LED grow lights and AI-driven experimentation, we are at the brink of a new era in agriculture—one where we can fine-tune light conditions to create the best artificial lighting solutions for the cultivation of medical plants. As we continue to unravel the mysteries of plant-light interactions, the potential for breakthroughs in medical plant growth remains boundless
You may find this article useful for below topics as well –
Optimizing Light Conditions for Growing Medicinal Herbs | A Guide to Medicinal Plant Indoor Cultivation | Harnessing the Power of Sunlight: Outdoor Medicinal Herb Gardening | Essential Light Factors for Cultivating High-Quality Medicinal Cannabis | Herbal Medicine at Home: Growing Your Own Medicinal Plants | The Impact of Light on Medicinal Plant Chemistry | Photoperiod Manipulation for Medicinal Plant Growth | Increasing Terpene Content in Medicinal Plants with the Right Light | Beyond Growth: Using Light to Preserve and Dry Medicinal Herbs | The Influence of Light on Medicinal Plant Aromatherapy | Native Medicinal Plants: Cultivation and Conservation | Innovative LED Lighting Solutions for Medicinal Herb Farms | Comparing Natural Sunlight vs. Artificial Light for Medicinal Plant Growth |
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