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The subject of “ grow lighting ” has been debated here for some time now, because light is one of the most important factors for the development of plants. This time, let’s go a little deeper, discuss what types of light influence cultivation. To understand some terms used here, we recommend that you see the post “ how efficient is the grow light “.
At this point you should know that the basic components for plant development are air, water and light. It is from these items that photosynthesis occurs and, at the same time, the formation of biomass. To guarantee the efficiency of this energy production, the amount of light that the plant receives is as important as the quality of the same.
When we speak of quantity of light, we refer to intensity, and when we say quality, we speak of the quality of the spectrum. For example, sunlight is composed of various frequencies (or colors) of light, resulting in the white light we see. When sunlight refracts, usually due to water particles in the sky, a rainbow forms. That is, the white light divides and we can clearly see the different colors that make up sunlight. However, in addition to the colors of the rainbow, sunlight is also composed of other colors (with other frequencies) that are not visible to the naked eye. These colors, although invisible to humans, are very important for plants and their development.
Far Reds, or even long reds, have two very important functions in plants. One of them is known as Emerson Effect, which is the sum of the frequency of the red light (660nm) and the frequency of the Far Reds (730nm). The result of this sum is a photosynthetic potential greater than the sum of the individual potentials of the two colors. In other words, it enhances photosynthesis much more, which gives energy to plants.
Another effect from the Far Reds is directly related to the production of the grow flowers. This happens due to phytochrome, a pigment present in plants that responds to luminous periodicity, such as sunrise and sunset. During the day, the concentration of red light is higher than the concentration of Far Reds, which stimulates the phytochrome to remain in its active form and makes the plant understand that it is time to perform photosynthesis. When the sun goes down, the concentration of Far Reds is greater than that of red light, this induces the phytochrome to change to inactive form. Thus, the plant understands that it is time to convert the glucose, produced in photosynthesis, into flowers.
Simulating the sunset, the plants receive a signal to sleep immediately, gaining 1-2 hours of sleep per night. It is these extra hours of sleep that make them mature earlier, reducing the flowering cycle by up to 5 days.
When we see an object in blue, it means that it is reflecting this color and absorbing the others that are being supplied. As the leaves are green, it is deduced that this is the reflected color, while the rest are absorbed by the plant. However, today it is known that this is not true. Only a small amount of green light is reflected, but 50-90% of it is absorbed and used in photosynthesis.
It turns out that the blue and red lights are absorbed on the surface of the leaves, while the green light is absorbed in the deeper layers. In these layers, the green light is even more efficient in the production of glucose than the red and blue ones.
When we cultivate using high concentrations of light (above 900-1000 PPFD), the greatest photosynthetic potential of plants happens to be in the deeper layers, where green light is more efficient. That is why white LEDs are better than conventional LEDs without green light. They are also better than HPS lamps, which have most of the spectrum in yellow and red light, and little green and blue.
Imation Board or COB
We have already seen what types of light influence cultivation, but what is the most efficient lighting system for grow?
In addition to LED systems , there are also COBs and Quantum Boards . COBs (Chip on Board) are white LED chips that combine multiple diodes. As a result, the light distribution is exceptionally better.
QBs, in turn, are very similar to COBs, however, with an even greater number of diodes. This difference seems small, but it is what distributes the emitted light even better. In addition, Quantum Boards generate much less heat, which is very satisfactory for those who grow indoor. On the other hand, COBs project the light better, that is, they can be positioned further from the plants without losing efficiency.
The trend in the market for crop lighting is to switch from HPS / HQI lamps to COBs and Quantum Boards. These systems are more efficient than standard LEDs and tend to bring not only visible lights, but include green light and Far Reds.