Breakthroughs with photonics: growing lettuce with red and blue light

Innovation Origins published an interview with Sebastian Olschowski, a biologist at the bioengineering company Fluence, part of the Munich-based lamp manufacturer Osram about Vertical Farming. He is speaker at the Vertical Farming conference, which takes place during the Photonics Applications Week.

“The market for vertical farming is growing,” says Sebastian Olschowski. And this cannot be achieved without photonics. After all, plant growth is dependent on light due to the photosynthesis process it undergoes.

Vertical farming is gaining traction over the past five to ten years. Plant and flower growers set up farms within an enclosed space. The plants are then grown in multiple layers on top of each other. Light influences shape and color of plants

The climate inside a vertical farm is regulated by nutrient supply, temperature, and lighting. Olschowski is an expert when it comes to lighting. The company he works for supplies the lamps. Olschowski is researching the effects of different light frequencies on plant growth. “We know that plants are able to perceive different frequencies of light. We also know how different types of light affect the plant’s metabolism, color, and shape.”

At the request of plant growers, vertical farms are set up on the basis of this science and the research that Olschowski is conducting in collaboration with universities and research institutes. A grower can, for example, ask the biologist how they can increase basil production so that they can sell more of it. Adjusting the lighting is one way of doing this.

A plant that needs to blossom quickly is subjected to a shorter night. The lighting is switched on earlier in the morning to provide more light. The lights are switched on later for plants that do not need to flower quickly.

It is not only lettuce which can grow in Vertical Farms, many other plants can flourich in this environment.

Read the complete interview at Innovation Origins.

Click here if you want to know more about the Vertical Farming Conference during which Sebastian will talk about growing lettuce with red and blue light, which takes place during the Photonics Applications Week.

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